Staff say UAE firms not obeying Ramadan work hours

Ministry of Labour says no employees meant to work more than 36 hours per week
By Staff writer
Sun 14 Jul 2013 09:00 AM

Employees in UAE private sector firms have claimed that they are being made to work more than six hours per day during Ramadan, despite rules from the Ministry of Labour stipulating otherwise.

According to regulations issued by ministry, companies must reduce working hours for both Muslims and non-Muslims to no more than 36 per week, or six hours per day, during the Islamic holy month. This rule applies to employees in both free zone and non-free zone areas across the Gulf country, and should result in no reduction in pay.

However, a number of Arabian Business readers have said that they are being made to work longer hours.

“I work for a construction company and even if there is very little work to do we are forced to sit in the office,” said one Arabian Business reader. “[They] make us sit in the office for ten hours.”

“Our company has asked to work from 8am to 6pm, as [is the] usual time for non Muslims. Is it right? Also, we are not paid for overtime as well,” another said.

“Same thing every year. Everyone is reminded of the hours they should be working. Reality is always different. Some companies do what they want. Nothing changes unfortunately,” another Arabian Business reader claimed.

When contacted for clarification on its working hours, a spokesperson Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre, one free zone in the emirate, said that it was “governed by the Ramadan working hours as announced by the Ministry of Labour”. A spokesperson for free zone Dubai Media City did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

There is no suggestion any of aforementioned workers were employed by companies in either free zone.

Ramadan began on July 10 this year and will run for either 29 or 30 days. During the holy month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking during the daylight hours.

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