New Midday Break for Outdoor Workers in UAE

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CORONAVIRUS IMPACT

The Ministry of Labour has announced a new regulation for firms and companies in the United Arab Emirates that bans outdoor work between 12.30 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. The midday break designed to protect construction workers will start in two weeks, on June 15.

The summer labor law has become a tradition for nine years now, created to prevent outdoor workers from being exposed to direct sunlight and high temperatures. According to statistics, since the midday break has been launched, the number of heat strokes and other heat-related health problems have dramatically dropped. As the mercury often hits 45 degrees Celsius, staying outside, and especially doing physical work, is very dangerous even for young, healthy men. But the provided break lasting two hours and a half has been established as a good prevention for heat strokes, cardiovascular problems and other conditions caused by high temperatures.

The nationwide regulation is imposed by the Ministry of Labour and will be secured by inspection visits. The break remains the same as last year and will continue for three months, until September 15. Teams of inspectors will check implementation of the ban on construction sites and other places where workers are outdoors. Any employer found in violation of the new rules will be fined AED 10,000 to AED 15,000. Recurring violation leads to a doubled fine and a ban to issue new labour permits for a period of three months. If the company or employer is found in violation for the third time, the fine will be AED 30,000.

In addition, employers should also provide their workers with shaded places for rest during the hottest hours of the day. Many companies will switch to shift working time, as it is the most convenient option during the summer.

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