Midday break for outdoor workers in UAE starts tomorrow - GulfToday

Midday break for outdoor workers in UAE starts tomorrow


Picture used for illustrative purposes.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) will begin implementing the Midday Break from tomorrow, 15 June until 15 September 2023. The ban will prohibit work in open spaces or under direct sunlight from 12:30 to 3:00 pm.

The Ministry said, "The Midday Break embodies the UAE's commitment to consolidating a humane and positive work environment and implementing the highest standards for occupational health and safety. Ensuring the wellbeing of the workforce and creating a safe, flexible, and attractive work environment with an effective governance system is at the forefront of the Ministry's strategic objectives."

The MoHRE expressed its confidence that establishments across the country will comply with the provisions of the ban to ensure the safety of their employees and provide a safe work environment for them.

"There is high awareness among employers in the UAE about the importance of the ban and its positive impact on the work environment, as we prepare to implement it for the 19th consecutive year. The Midday Break is a notable milestone for workers, enhancing the leadership and competitiveness of the UAE labor market," it stated.

Employers are required to provide parasols that protect workers from direct sunlight, shaded areas to rest during their break, and adequate cooling devices, such as fans, as well as sufficient drinking water and other amenities to ensure comfort in the workplace.

The decision limits daily working hours to eight. If an employee is needed to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period, the additional hours will be considered overtime and the employee would be entitled to additional pay, according to the Regulation of Employment Relationship Law.

The Midday Break takes into account the need to maintain continuity in certain jobs that affect the community as a whole. Some jobs that require work to continue uninterrupted are exempt from implementing the decision for technical reasons. These include laying asphalt or pouring concrete, in the event where it is unfeasible to postpone these tasks until after the break.

Also on the list are the works needed to contain hazards or repair damages, such as interruptions to water supply or electricity, cutting off traffic, and other major issues. The exemption also includes works that require a permit from a relevant government authority to be implemented, given their impact on the flow of traffic and services. These tasks require non-stop work, including cutting or diverting main traffic routes, power lines, and communications.

In the case of exempted jobs, the employer is required to provide sufficient cold drinking water for workers. Public health and safety requirements should be maintained by providing hydrating items, such as salt, and other substances approved for use by the local authorities in the UAE. They must also provide first aid at the work site, adequate industrial cooling, parasols that protect from direct sunlight.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation receives reports from community members about violations of the Midday Break through its call center at 600590000, which answers calls 24/7 and in 20 languages, including three main languages, through an automated call system. The Ministry can also be reached via its smart application.


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