Staff say UAE firms not obeying Ramadan work hours

Ministry of Labour says no employees meant to work more than 36 hours per week

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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Posted by: kumar

same is the case with my company. I wish either the private companies flouting rules and the govt could come to some agreement for the sake of employees.

Posted by: prakash

While it is legal right of the worker to work 6 hrs per day during Ramadhan, it is also important to understand that in many companies the non - fasting staff enjoy all the benefits of eating and drinking during office hours, so why grumble at the employer who is already suffering from the work delays and various losses due to casual absences, work errors and various other losses the employer suffers due to employee negligences during the rest of the year. I totally agree that it is unfair to make the fasting staff work beyond the stipulated working hours. The laws are for the benefit of both the Employer and the Employee and should be viewed with the spirit of fairness.

Posted by: nimby

If there is a law it should be followed.
Not explained or justified, followed.

If it says for all, and specifies even for non-muslims as it does, that is the law.

Follow it to the letter or change it.
But dont try and explain it away whilst it is law.

Posted by: Wisede

In our Company, the rules are enforced. We do work 6 Hours a day. Some staff (including Muslims) sometimes work up to 7 or 8 hours on their freewill. I think it is the HR responsibility to enforce the rules and regulations and to protect the employees right as well. Alas, in some organizations working hours are even made harder and indeed it is not justified at all.

Posted by: angel

Yes that's true,our manager let us work more than six hours because she said we are not Muslims, is that right?

Posted by: Kumdhar

I agree with wotrules.
Here at the Co whih I work also, 06 Hrs rule is only applicable for Muslims. Others work normal hours or more.

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