Spare the rod and...

GRACE, by definition, means some extra time being given to finish one's task or job, be it paying bills or rectifying violations. Though it is invariably seen as a tool necessary to allow some people time to toe the line, grace also has the potential of lulling one into a false sense of complacency.

By Talk Of The Town

Published: Thu 25 Aug 2005, 10:06 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:16 PM

And this precisely seems to be the problem with companies and establishments in the UAE, who were given a fairly long rope in the form of grace period to rectify labour violations they had committed for years.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which had rightly decided to clamp down on violations by imposing hefty fines on violations like failure to issue or renew labour cards and the likes, gave the business community grace till August 23 to comply with rules and regulations. Companies failing to do so would have had to face hefty fines for regularisation of their employees' status after the date.

Unfortunately, several companies put pressure on the ministry to extend the grace period on grounds that the shortage of staff at the ministry on account of the summer vacation had put the brakes on their efforts to rectify problems in their companies, this after violating laws for years together!

The ministry responded positively by giving an additional week, given them time till this month end to rectify the anomalies. But the authorities should keep in mind that there would still be errant companies coming up with excuses for not complying with the law at the end of the second grace period.

The ministry should stand firm on it's ultimatum at least this time, particularly since it had made it clear earlier that there was no question of extension beyond August 23. Otherwise, the situation would be akin to indulgent parents sparing the rod to spoil the child.

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