Mid-day respite for workers from today
By Riyasbabu and Ahmed Abdul Aziz (Our staff reporters)KHALEEJ TIMES 1 July 2008
DUBAI/ABU DHABI — Beginning today, the Ministry of Labour (MoL) will enforce the mid-day break rule for labourers, banning outdoor work between 12.30pm and 3pm daily during the months of July and August.
However, this year, work at construction sites, where concrete mix pouring is being done (which needs non-stop work for 10 hours), electricity and water maintenance in buildings, and other light activities under shade at workshops, will be allowed during the break time, the MoL yesterday clarified.
The mid-day break will also not stop work in emergencies on roads or disasters as well as at oil and petroleum companies.
Humaid bin Deemas, Acting Under-Secretary of the MoL, told Khaleej Times yesterday that the employers who are exempted from the mid-day break must establish shades and provide umbrellas, cold drinking water, lemon juices, salt capsules, and first aid mobile clinics to workers.
"All the companies in the country are aware about the rule that comes into effect July 1," he said.
The rule is aimed at providing respite to construction workers from the scorching sun and high humidity during the peak summer months.
The MoL started implementing the mid-day break rule since 2005 as part of its commitment to ensuring the health and safety of workers.
According to the law, companies violating the rule for the first time will be fined Dh10,000 and their status will be transferred to 'C' category for three months and all of their new visa applications would be blocked.
If a company is found violating the law for the second time, a fine of Dh20,000 will be slapped and its status will be downgraded for six months.
If the company violates the law the third time, the fine will be Dh30,000 and its work licence will be suspended for one year.