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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Midday break for workers ends for the summer

Companies praised for following strict government rules on worker welfare during the hottest part of the year

From left, Sukhwant Singh, Ishwar Nath and Vipun Kumar talk about their relief at the start of the midday break for workers in June. They all work in construction on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, while the break has now ended. Delores Johnson / The National
From left, Sukhwant Singh, Ishwar Nath and Vipun Kumar talk about their relief at the start of the midday break for workers in June. They all work in construction on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, while the break has now ended. Delores Johnson / The National

This year’s annual midday break rule for outdoor workers close on Friday, September 15 after a three-month period of relief offered during the hottest part of the summer, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) said on Friday.

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

Daily working hours must not exceed eight hours in the morning or night shift, and overtime must be paid to those working additional hours.

In August, the ministry announced that there was 99.7 per cent compliance of the rules by 53,569 companies.

Regular inspections have been completed to ensure companies are following government rules, with 13,375 patrols in the capital, 11,022 in Dubai, 5,073 in Sharjah, 8,047 in Ajman, 5,687 in Ras Al Khaimah, 2,728 in Umm Al Quwain.

Companies sticking to the rules were praised by Maher Al Obaid, an assistant undersecretary at the MOHRE.

“Workers must be supplied with water at all times, as well as minerals which are approved for use by health authorities in the country,” he said.

“They must be provided access to first aid kits on site in addition to protective umbrellas.”

As per the law, companies are fined Dh5,000 per worker if they are detected working during the summer break hours.

The break is in its 13th year and began by giving workers an interval for two summer months until 2010 when the break was extended to three months from June 15 until September 15.

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