Laborers in the United Arab Emirates will be afforded a midday break at project and construction sites from 12:30 p.m. until 15:00 p.m., starting June 15 until Sept. 15, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) said on Wednesday.
A fine of $1,361 will be imposed on establishments that violate the midday break for each worker found working during the break, with a maximum fine of $13,612 imposed if multiple workers are working during the ban, according to the MoHRE.
The regulation – implemented for the 18th consecutive year across the country – aims to provide a safe work environment for laborers and prevent health risks from sun exposure during the sweltering summer months, according to the ministry’s Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for Inspection Affairs Mohsen Al-Nassi.
According to Al-Nassi, the midday break has led to a significant decrease in the number of cases of heat exhaustion and heat strokes reported in laborers since its implementation.
The ministry said it would hold various awareness activities to ensure workers and employers follow the guidelines.
Some jobs will be exempted from the midday work ban for technical reasons that require work to continue uninterrupted, the MoHRE said.
In the event that work must continue without interruption during the hours between 12:00 p.m. to 15:00 p.m., employers must provide sufficient cold drinking water for all workers, the announcement added.
In addition, companies must make sure first-aid kits are available at the work site and ensure that there are appropriate shaded areas where laborers can rest during their break.
Employers are also required to post the schedule of daily working hours in a visible place – with the specified midday break – in a language that the laborers can understand, in addition to Arabic.