UAE's midday work ban comes into operation

Labour Ministry plans 60,000 inspection visits during three month summer initiative
UAE's midday work ban comes into operation
construction workers, labour camp, labourers
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 15 Jun 2012 09:37 AM

A midday break ban designed to protect thousands of outdoor workers in the UAE began on Friday.

The countrywide ban, which has been imposed by the Ministry of Labour, bans outdoor work between 12.30pm and 3pm until September 15.

The Ministry is planning to undertake 20,000 field awareness visits along with 60,000 inspection visits by 19 teams of inspectors to check the implementation of the ban, official news agency WAM said.

Any employer found in violation of the rules will be penalised AED15,000 for each breach.

In the event of recurring violation, the inspectors will consider re-classifying the company which could make it more difficult to employ labourers.

Last July, the UAE said it made a total of 3,827 visits over a two week period and found that 99.7 percent of private firms had stuck to the rules.

The order for this year's ban was signed by Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash last month to renew the midday break rules for the eighth consecutive year.

Officials have decided to maintain the three-month midday break this year, a month longer than when the rules were first introduced.

The order stipulates that employers must provide their workers with shaded places of rest during the recess period.

It also says that if a worker is working more than eight hours a day, he will be entitled to over-time wages.

Employers must also publish daily schedules of working hours in Arabic and in languages understood by the workers, most of which are from south Asia.

The rule gives exemptions to works which requires uninterrupted work for technical reasons, provided that the employer provides cold drinking water.

Last year, it was reported that shift work was proving the most successful means for UAE construction firms to stick to the three-month, midday work ban.

Contractors said they were complying with the summer labour laws by instructing their employees to work in eight or 10-hour shifts either side of the 12.30pm-3.30pm break period.

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