CIVIL servants would no longer need permission to take on other jobs outside their normal hours, under a proposal put to the Shura Council.
Members voted yesterday to review restrictions on second jobs, despite strong objections from the government.
The council's legal affairs committee is recommending amending an article in the proposed Civil Service Law, which stipulates that government employees are not allowed to carry out jobs for other organisations, with or without pay or financial reward, without the approval of the authority concerned.
The committee's proposal would remove the "without approval" clause, saying instead that any outside work should not clash with their government duties.
Committee head Mohammed Al Halwaji said that the amendment ensured that employees could be members of political and social organisations without direct interference from the government.
He said that it also guaranteed that employees would be able to improve their standards of living or take the opportunity to take part in voluntary work.
The government protested the move, which it said would allow all government employees to take up jobs after work without restrictions.
"You are taking away the jurisdiction of the government to regulate the activities of its employees that could harm the progress of work," said Minister of State for Shura Council and Parliament Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel.
"For example, Article 48 in the Constitution stipulates that a minister may not conduct industrial, commercial or financial businesses.
"By passing the law the way it was amended by the committee, you are allowing them to do so without specific restrictions."
Mr Al Fadhel said that the same situation was relevant to all other government employees.
"You cannot allow government workers to take such steps without any restrictive measures to ensure that there are no conflicts of interests," he said.
The council voted to refer the article back to the committee for further review.
Members voted to ease restrictions on civil servants speaking to the Press or other media. They amended Article 57 of the draft Civil Service Law, which stipulates that government employees are not allowed to give any statement related to their duties to the Press or any other media, without approval from the relevant authority.
The council approved an amendment by the legal affairs committee, stipulating that while employees may not speak on behalf of the government organisation for which they work, they may give information or make comments related specifically to their own duties.
lShura Council members are going to have to give up part of their spring break, to finish going through the the draft Civil Service Law. The council's meeting yesterday should have been the last before the three-week break, but members will have to meet again after Eid, to finish going through the law.