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Midday break begins in UAE for outdoor workers

Midday break begins in UAE for outdoor workers

Companies have to give a two-and-a-half hour break from 12.30pm to 3pm to labourers who work in open areas such as construction sites.

By (Wam)

Published: Sun 14 Jun 2015, 10:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

Abu Dhabi - The mandatory midday break for labourers who work in the sun during the summer months starts on Monday, according to the UAE Ministry of Labour.

The decision, issued by Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, for the 11th year in a row, says that companies have to give a two-and-a-half hour break from 12.30pm to 3pm to labourers who work in open areas such as construction sites.

The three-month midday break rule will last until September 15. Employers are instructed to provide a shaded area for workers to rest during the midday break and employers should provide adequate preventive methods to protect workers from work-related injuries.

The ministry said that daily working hours must not exceed eight hours in either day or night shift, and overtime should be paid to those working additional hours.

According to the ministry’s decision, labourers must not work at all during the banned hours if they usually work outside, but companies working on emergency projects can continue work.

The ruling also requires employers to post a clear scheduling of the daily working hours during the midday break period, and provide shelter for the labourers during the resting hours.

The workers must be supplied with salt and lemon, which is approved for use by health authorities in the country. They must provide first aid at the work site and there must be appropriate industrial and protective umbrellas to shield them from the sun.

Labour officials said that all employers must comply with requirements needed for workers who perform work without breaks and to prevent them from heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Employers must provide all facilities that cater to the health of workers, including first aid, air-conditioners, sunshades and cold water.

He said violators will be fined Dh5,000 per worker found working during the break, not exceeding Dh50,000. The fine stipulated in the previous council’s decision, which was formerly applied by the Labour Ministry, amounted to Dh15,000 per violation. “The company’s profile will be forwarded by the inspections department to the minister’s office for action.”

Mubarak Saeed Al Dhahiri, Under-Secretary of the Labour Ministry said that companies responsible for works which must continue for technical reasons are exempt from the ban. Workers can continue working during the banned hours if they are working on projects that cannot be postponed for technical reasons.

This also include those working on projects licensed from governmental departments which could affect the flow of traffic, or also that which could affect electrical, water supplies or communications.

Companies which are permitted to continue work must provide cold drinking water to the workers and there must be a limited number of workers only in addition to all kinds of safety and public health requirements.

The ministry will note any observations made by the public reporting labourers working during the specified period, being reachable through its toll-free number or by filing a report using the free MOL smartphone application.

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