Companies banned from forcing labourers to work between 12.30 and 3pm.
The Ministry of Labour will implement the midday break for labourers from today and until September 15. The ministry is organising a special ceremony on Sunday to mark the launch of the decision.
The break bans all companies from forcing its labourers to do any sort of work under direct sunlight between 12.30 and 3pm for these three months that usually record extremely high temperatures.
The decision which enters its tenth year now, urges business owners to provide shaded areas for the workers during their break period and to completely cease work. The decision also refers the owners to adapt to eight working hours daily and reimburse labourers working overtime according to the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.
Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash asked all employers to prepare a schedule of daily working hours in accordance with the decision in Arabic, as it would make it easier for labour inspectors to observe and record upon visits, and to provide the schedule in the workers’ native language to avoid misunderstandings.
Employers are also required to provide first aid kits in the workplace and means of appropriate cooling systems and protecting umbrellas from direct sunlight.
It was mentioned that the minister noted down some exceptional cases that require continuation of work during those periods for technical reasons, yet employers are obliged to provide cold drinking water, safety tools and materials, salts, lemon, fresh salads and all necessities that have been approved for use by health authorities in the country.
For the punishment part, Ghobash said violators will be fined Dh15,000 if found making labourers work under direct sunlight.
“Moreover, if the issue involves a huge number of workers on the recorded worksite, the company’s profile will be forwarded by the inspections department to the minister’s office where the minister might consider temporally shutting down the entity plus giving it a downgrade,” he said.
Under the decision, the employer shall be liable for breach of the employment of workers during the period of the ban if he uses a factor not permitted by law and violates the provisions of the decision to limit the hours of work during the summer period.
Mubarak Saeed Al-Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour, earlier said that businesses excluded from the banned working hours include work on mix asphalt poured concretes if it is impossible to implement or supplement the necessary work in one day or doing work to prevent expected danger or reparation or damage or malfunction or loss, and also emergency work, including cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity and cut off traffic or blocking public roads in addition to cut gas pipelines or petroleum. It also includes work that requires a permit implementation of the competent governmental authority because of its impact on the flow of traffic and services.
Businesses may acquire a permit from the government to continue certain projects during peak hours only in case of major impacts on the flow of traffic such as closing roads, cutting off power supply or communication lines.