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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

UAE's mandatory midday break for workers to begin June 15

The break offers a three-month period of relief during the hottest part of the summer

Workers take a break on a construction site. The midday break will begin from June 15. Lauren Lancaster / The National
Workers take a break on a construction site. The midday break will begin from June 15. Lauren Lancaster / The National

An annual mandatory midday break for outdoor workers will begin on June 15 and run until September 15, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced on Tuesday.

In its 14th year, the break offers a three-month period of relief during the hottest part of the summer.

During this time, employers are required to provide a clear schedule for workers and are forbidden from making them do any outdoor work. They are also required to provide workers with shelter.

The rule has been in operation since 2004 in the UAE. It prevents any work in direct sunlight between 12.30pm and 3pm to ensure the well-being and safety of labourers working outside in the summer heat.

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Water and shade must be provided for outdoor workers

Workers deserve a fair deal on the midday break

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“The resolution limits workers’ shifts to eight hours a day and ensures they are paid overtime for any additional hours,” said Nasser Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

The ministry called on employers to ensure the correct procedures were in place to protect workers against injuries and illnesses during their working hours. Businesses have also been tasked with holding workshops or distributing information to their employees telling them how to stay safe at work.

In exceptional cases, when continuous work is required, employers must provide workers with cold water and other items including salt, lemon, first aid kits, air-conditioned areas, and sunshades. Emergency work includes any maintenance on water supply, sewerage, electricity, cutting off traffic or blocking public roads, and cutting gas pipelines or petroleum flow.

Those found breaking the midday break rule will be fined Dh5,000 for each worker. Businesses will be fined a maximum of Dh50,000 if a group of labourers is found working during the assigned hours. Offending businesses also will be downgraded, making them ineligible for work permits for at least six months.

The municipality carries out regular inspection to ensure complete compliance across the country.

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