Discrimination of workers is against the law

DUBAI - Companies have no right whatsoever to discriminate between their Muslim and non-Muslim workers as far as the working hours during the holy month of Ramadan are concerned, an official at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs stressed yesterday.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 27 Oct 2003, 12:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 2:00 PM

A number of workers from different companies have filed complaints with the ministry stating that their respective companies have issued circulars specifying different working hours for Muslim and non-Muslim workers.

"This is not right and is regarded by us as a clear violation to the UAE regulations which state that during Ramadan, companies have to reduce the daily working hours from eight to six for all their employees irrespective of their religions," the official said.

This is stated in Article 65 of the Labour Law No. 8 of 1980, which clearly mentions that the maximum working hours for all workers is eight hours that have to be reduced to by two hours during Ramadan.

"Who gave the companies the right to classify workers? By doing so they violate all the regulations and they contradict the policy of the country which was translated in its Federal labour Law No. 8 of 1980. The law is very flexible and is a symbol of the country's religious tolerance and its keenness to treat all expatriate workers equally with regard to their rights, and to avoid any measures that might discriminate between workers on the basis of religion or sex," the official clarified, strongly condemning the practices of the companies which try to bend the laws to suit their own interests.

The official said that companies can, however, ask their employees to work overtime during Ramadan, but stressed that the overtime hours should be calculated after the six normal working hours.

"Article 67 says that any period worked in access of the normal working hours, which are six in Ramadan, shall be treated as overtime for which a worker should receive a remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal hours of work, plus an extra of at least 25 per cent of the wage if the overtime hours are performed during the day, and an extra payment of 50 per cent of the pay of the normal working hours if the overtime is performed between 9pm and 4am," the source said, quoting the law.

The timing of the overtime hours and their number are of course left to the companies to decide upon each according to its own schedule, the source concluded.

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