18th July 2018
If you are employing staff in the UAE who are required to work outside it is important to understand the regulations. During the summer months, when the temperatures are extremely hot, a Midday Break rule is enforced. This prevents work taking place under direct sunlight and in outside places between 12:30-3pm.
This year, the Midday Break rule commenced on 15th June and will run through until 15th September. It is the 14th consecutive year the rule has been in place. The conditions are announced on an annual basis by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE).
What is the Midday Break rule?
The Midday Break rule is a series of health and safety measures to prevent work-related injuries. Typical heat-related illnesses and injuries could include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, cramps and rashes, as well as injuries due to sweating hands and dizziness.
What are the employer’s obligations under the Midday Break regulations?
- Workers shifts are split into morning and night shifts. They can work up to eight hours daily. Any overtime worked, must be compensated at the normal hourly rate plus at least 25%. Overtime remuneration is increased to the normal hourly rate plus 50% if the work is carried out between 9pm–4am.
- Workers must be informed of the daily schedule during the midday break period. This should be provided in Arabic and a language understood by the workers.
- Shelter must be provided during the rest period.
- Preventative measures to protect workers from illness and injuries that may occur during work hours must be provided. Workers must also be educated on staying safe in the workplace.
How are the Midday Break rules enforced?
Inspections are conducted throughout the three-month period. Inspection teams monitor compliance throughout each Emirate using smart technology.
What are the penalties for non-compliance of the Midday Break rule?
Employers violating the rules face the following penalties:
- AED5,000 fine per worker, up to a maximum of AED50,000 for a group of workers.
- Reduction of the company's Classification in the authority's system.
- Six-month ban on obtaining new work permits.
What activities are excluded from the Midday Break ban?
Any activities which require non-stop work for technical reasons are exempted from the Midday Break rules. In such instances the employer must provide cold drinking water, rehydration materials such as salt and lemon and other materials approved by the UAE health authorities, first aid kits, air conditioning and sunshades.
Results of the Midday Break in 2017
In August 2017, MOHRE announced a 99.7% compliance rate by 53,569 companies.
More information about the Midday Break
For more information about the UAE’s Safety in Heat campaign, organised by Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety And Health Center (OSHAD) please CLICK HERE.
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO, Gateway Group of Companies
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