UAE reveals start date for midday work break

A labour ministry official said certain activities have been exempted from the remit of the three-month restriction on outdoor work between 12.30pm and 3pm

The UAE's midday work break will run between 15 June and 15 September this year. [Representational image]
The UAE's midday work break will run between 15 June and 15 September this year. [Representational image]

The midday break law will take effect in the UAE on 15 June, 2017, it has been confirmed. 

Aimed at safeguarding outdoor workers – particularly from the construction sector – during the hottest months of the year, the break will run 15 September, 2017. 

The three-month restriction prohibits most outdoor work between 12.30pm and 3pm. 

However, Saif Ahmed Al Suwaidi, under-secretary of human resources affairs at the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), said that certain activities have been exempted from the midday break's remit. 

This list includes "[mixing] asphalt poured concretes that can not be carried out or completed during the afternoon; works to prevent expected danger, reparation, damage, malfunction, or loss; and [...] emergency work, [such as] cutting lines; water supply; sewerage; electricity; cutting off traffic or blocking public roads; [...] broken gas pipelines; or petroleum flow hindrances". 

In exceptional cases, employers "must supply workers with salts and lemon" should workers be required to operate during the break for technical reasons. 

Employers must also provide facilities that ensure the well-being of workers during the three-month period, including first aid kits, air-conditioners, sunshades, and a supply of cold water. 

Shelters must be provided for workers' use during resting periods, and "a clear schedule to inform [them] of the daily working hours during the midday break period" should be posted by employers. 

The labour body also urged employers to provide health kits to cure workers exposed to hazards and dangerous tools regularly. 

Violators will be fined $1,361 (AED5,000) for each person found working during break hours.

A fine of up to $13,613 (AED50,000) could be levied if the case involves a large number of labourers.

The violating party also faces the threat of being downgraded and temporarily suspended from operations, WAM reported.


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