Midday break for UAE construction workers to start on June 15

Labourers prohibited from working under direct sunlight from 12.30pm to 3pm until September 15

PHOTO: Violators of the ‘midday break’ will be fined up to Dh50,000. Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE has announced details of its ‘midday break’ for construction workers, which is set to start on June 15 and last three months.

Labourers are prohibited from working under direct sunlight between 12.30pm and 3pm during the period, the Ministry of Labour said on Sunday.

Violators will be fined Dh5,000 per worker found working during the break, and up to Dh50,000 if the issue involves a number of workers. Authorities may also consider temporarily suspending a firm in case of a breach, according to state news agency WAM.

Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, stated that the working hours during the period – which are divided into morning and night shifts – can have an eight-hour span, according to a statement.

In case labourers are asked to work more, they must be compensated for overtime as per UAE law.

The ruling also requires employers post a clear schedule of daily working hours during the hot summer months, as well as providing shelter for labourers during rest hours.

“The ruling, which has been running [during such hot days] for 11 continuous years, was launched to promote health and safety precautions while on duty, in accordance with international standards,” said Maher Al Obed, Assistant Undersecretary for the Inspectional Affairs at the Ministry.

“This is considered one of the most prominent and important preventive measures to protect workers from the risk of working under direct sunlight in extreme high temperatures,” he said.

The ministry has formed 18 squads to monitor compliance across the UAE during the midday break period, and will also distribute awareness leaflets to both employers and labourers to promote awareness, WAM reported.

“We seek to launch over 60,000 inspectional visits, and 20,000 visits aimed only at spreading the message. These will start on Monday (June 1st) across the country and thousands of flyers in 10 different languages will be distributed,” Al Obed said.

“Initiatives are also undertaken by many members of the community who distribute cold water and refreshments to the labourers on duty, thus embodying the values of compassion and solidarity in the UAE society.”

Last year’s statistics have shown compliance with the midday break rule across the nation reaching 95.5 per cent, Al Obed said.

Tasks excluded from the midday ban include: Work on mix-asphalt poured concretes when it is impossible to implement or supplement the necessary work in one day; doing work to prevent expected danger, reparation, damage, malfunction or loss; and also emergency work, including cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity and cutting off traffic or blocking public roads in addition to cut gas pipelines or petroleum flow.

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