56 companies found to have broken labourers’ summer midday break rule

Ministry of Labour report says violaters are fined Dh15,000, however the vast majority of companies have complied with the rule this summer.

Most companies in Abu Dhabi have complied with the midday break rule for outdoor workers, however 56 companies will be fine for non-compliance. Silvia Razgova / The National
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DUBAI // Fifty-six companies have flouted the midday break law that bans labourers from working under direct sunlight during the hot summer months, the Ministry of Labour has said.

But a report from the ministry showed that 44,779 businesses had complied with the rule.

The rule specifies that labourers working in open areas should get a mandatory break from 12.30pm until 3pm from June 15 until September 15 and employers must provide a shaded area for workers to rest during that time.

This is the 10th year of the break rule and statistics show a growing compliance rate, said Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour.

The aim of the rule was to safeguard workers’ health and safety during extreme summer temperatures, he said.

“The number of visits by inspectors to work sites in various activities across the country amounted to 44,835, including 10,120 visits in Abu Dhabi; 13,040 in Dubai; 5,117 in Sharjah; 6,191 in Ajman; 1,748 in Ras Al Khaimah; 4,038 in Umm Al Quwain; and 4,581 in Fujairah,” Mr Al Dhaheri said.

The percentage of businesses that complied with the ministry’s directive in each emirate was as follows: Abu Dhabi, 99.97 per cent; Dubai, 99.83 per cent; Sharjah, 99.97 per cent; Ajman 99.92 per cent; Ras Al Khaimah, 98.63 per cent; while Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah scored 100 per cent, he said.

The department also carried out 18,142 visits to educate labourers about the importance of following safety instructions and to inform employers about the need to abide by labour laws.

Inspectors also distributed posters and brochures to spread awareness among labourers.

In line with the midday break rule, the ministry reiterated to employers that companies should stick to the eight-hour work-day schedule and reimburse labourers for working overtime.

Employers should also provide cold drinking water, salts, lemon and fresh salads to workers, as directed by UAE health authorities.

Companies that breach the midday break rule are fined Dh15,000.