For UAE workers, midday break is a 'life-saver' during peak summer

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on June 2, 2021

(KT file)

Employers must provide a clear schedule to inform workers of their daily working hours.

Workers in the UAE on Wednesday got the announcement they had been waiting for, especially as days are starting to get hotter. Their midday break is set to start on June 15 and will continue until September 15, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) announced.

Under the rule, all work carried out under the sun and in open places shall be banned between the peak hours of 12.30pm and 3pm.

Outdoor cleaner Jayfer said the annual break is a life-saver during hot summer months. “I have been here for several years now and currently, I work as an outdoor cleaner in Jumeirah Lakes Towers area. It gets so hot outdoors during peak summer months that at times I feel dizzy, so this two-and-a-half-hour break is such a respite. When I resume work after the break, I feel so much more fresh and rejuvenated,” said Jayfer, who works at Spring Cleaning company.

Ravi, who works as a mason at a construction company, said: “I am glad we are living in such a considerate country that ensures we are able to get some rest in proper shelters with air conditioners, where we can take a nap. We are also provided with cool water and even glucose at times.”

Employers must provide a clear schedule to inform workers of their daily working hours. Under the decision, daily working hours — for morning, evening or both shifts — are not to exceed eight hours. Any time beyond this would be deemed paid overtime.

Any establishment that does not comply with the terms and conditions of the decision shall be fined Dh5,000 per worker, with a maximum of Dh50,000. In addition, the establishment could have its file suspended or its status downgraded in the Mohre classification system.

Muneer Bhambhani, CEO of Golden Apex Technical Services, said making the breaks mandatory reflects the humanitarian side of the UAE. “The midday rule is a great way to show the country cares for these unsung heroes who toil hard in the sun to literally build the nation with their hands. As an employer, I feel midday break works in favour of the employees and the companies they work for. The rest break benefits them as they get their energy levels back and the quality of work increases when they resume work in the second half.”

The ministry has urged residents to report any violations by calling the toll-free number 80060, which is available 24 hours a day in four languages.

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