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Construction companies violate midday break rule

On July 24, 2008

Every summer in the UAE (where temperatures can reach a staggering 50 degrees Celsius), doctors brace themselves to receiving hundreds of patients suffering from heat exhaustion. Many of the workers, originating from countries where the climate is not as harsh, lose their lives.

Although the Ministry of Labour has enforced a nation-wide summer mid-day break rule forbidding outdoor work from 12:30pm to 3:00pm four years ago, many companies continue to disregard the rule, thus placing their employees at risk.

“During the first year, 75 per cent of the companies were found abiding, while this year the rate went up to 99 per cent,” [Mohsen al Nessi, manager of the inspection department at the Ministry of Labour] said.

However, ministry officials said in the three weeks since the midday break began on July 1, they had found 37 companies violating the rule in Abu Dhabi, 30 in Al Ain, two on Dalma Island and six in Al Gharbia.

Companies found in violation of the rule not only face fines, but suspension of their activities.

For a first offence, companies can be fined Dh10,000 (US$2,700) and have some of their activities suspended for three months. They would be listed as a “Category C” company on a ministry schedule, which ranks firms A, B, or C, based on their performance in several categories.

Second-time violators face suspension of work licences for at least six months and a fine of Dh20,000. Third-time violators could have their licence suspended for one year and be fined Dh30,000.

If you live in the UAE and notice any construction work taking place during the enforced midday break - take action! Call 800 665 – or 050 955 7678