UAE Midday Break Rules Apply from 15th June 2020
10th June 2020
If your UAE organisation has employees which work outside in direct sunlight, then its important that you are familiar with the Midday Break Rules. In particular these rules will apply to construction companies and landscaping companies, but ultimately apply to every organisation which has outdoor workers.
Given the high temperatures in the UAE during the summer, the Midday Break Rules were introduced back in the early 2000s to protect workers working outside during the heat of the day from heat related illnesses such as sunstroke. The Midday Break Rules come into effect on 15th June every year and run for three months until 15th September. During these three months, UAE companies are prohibited from having their employees working outside in direct sunlight between the hours of 12:30pm and 3pm.
What hours are outside workers allowed to work during the Midday Break months?
During the Midday Break period, outdoor worker's hours are usually split into two shifts - a morning shift and an evening shift. A shift may not exceed eight hours. In case any employees work overtime, then the employer must pay overtime in line with the UAE's Labour Law.
What are the standard responsibilities for employers during the Midday Break months?
Employers are required to provide their employees with the following:
Post a clear schedule of the working hours in Arabic and the languages which the workers understand
Provide shelter for the break period
Urged to provide health kits for workers
Urged to distribute awareness leaflets about working safety in the heat
Provide First Aid kits
Provide access to air conditioners, where possible
Provide sufficient supplies of cold water for the number of staff
Are there exceptions to the Midday Break Rules?
Yes! Emergency works and in instances where the work can't be stopped due to technical reasons. Should this apply to your organisation it is necessary for you to supply your employees with the following:
A sufficient amount of cold water
Thirst quenching aids (e.g. salt & lemon)
First aid kits
Shade where possible
Are there penalties for breaking the Midday Break Rules?
Yes. For each worker found working during the Midday Break, the employer will be fined AED5,000 up to a total of AED50,000. Depending upon the severity of the breach, the employer may also face suspension of its MOHRE account and a possibly a downgrading too. The MOHRE carries out inspections throughout the three months to ensure that companies comply. Members of the public are also encouraged to notify the MOHRE if they spot instances where people are working outside during the Midday Break hours.
Does the MOHRE really carry out Midday Break inspections?
Yes. During the summer of 2019, the MOHRE announced it received a total of 42 reports. It immediately sent out inspectors to the various sites and of those reports, five instances were found to be in breech of the rules.
Therefore, to avoid the penalties outlined above and to protect your outdoor employees as much as possible during the next three months, be sure to comply with the Midday Break Rules.
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO
Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE
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