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Cairo: Stopping female workers from sitting down while on duty is a violation of the Saudi labour law and is punishable by up to SR3,000, a Saudi official said.

Spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources Mohammed Al Razeqi added that keeping female employees, who work jobs in sales and at the reception, standing all the time is unlawful. This is given that such professions do not require constant standing.

“Female employees have the right to rest if there is no need for them to stand. This does not contradict their right to get rest in designated areas,” the official told Okaz newspaper.

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He added that preventing female employees from sitting down is a breach of the labour law punishable by fines ranging from SR1,000 to SR3,000.

The official’s comment was made in response to a complaint from female workers in the furniture sector. They claimed bodily exhaustion after allegedly stopped from sitting down although there were no customers around.

The official's warning comes amid women’s increasing engagement in public life and a vigorous drive to empower women in Saudi Arabia as part of major socio-economic changes.

In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, ending a decades-old ban on female driving.

In another move enhancing women's empowerment, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel without a male guard's approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.

Two female ambassadors were among 11 Saudi envoys, who took the oath of office before King Salman bin Abdulaziz earlier this year.