Abu Dhabi: Some 99 per cent of companies inspected by the Ministry of Labour were found to be complying with the midday break rule.
Under the decision, which went into force on June 15 and runs until September 15, labourers who work in open areas such as construction sites, should be given a two-and-a-half-hour break from 12.30pm to 3pm.
A total of 12,509 companies were found complying with the rule, while 73 others were found to be violating it.
The labour inspection department at the Ministry of Labour carried out 10,918 visits to various private sector institutions and companies from June 15 to June 30 to ensure the rules were being implemented and to educate workers about the best methods to keep safe from heat-related illness.
“Around 99 per cent of companies were found following the ministry’s midday break rules and this indicates the increased awareness of both employers and workers about the dos and don’ts with regard to the three-month mandatory midday break for those working in the sun during the summer,” said Mubarak Saeed Al Daheri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour.
“We have a total of 18 inspection teams who regularly visit worksites and ensure that the rules set by the ministry are being followed, including providing workers with shaded areas to rest in during the break as well as professional safety tools to protect labourers from work-related injuries, dehydration and other health risks such as sunstroke and heat exhaustion,” he added.
On the flip side 73 companies were found breaking the midday break rule.
Companies found breaking the midday rule face stiff penalties, including a Dh15,000 fine for the first offence.
Additionally, the employer should pay Dh1,500 to employees who are forced to work during the midday break, and they will not be able to issue new labour cards or employ new workers.
Al Daheri also pointed out that the Ministry of Labour’s inspections will be on a daily basis to ensure compliance with the UAE labour law.
“The inspection department will carry out 80,000 guidance and inspection visits until September 15 to raise awareness of the importance of implementing the midday break rules and to see how many companies are complying with or violating the break rule,” he said.
The guidance and inspection visits will take place at different worksites starting from 10.30am until 12.30pm in addition to 125 lectures, which will be conducted across the UAE, to explain prevention of and protection against heat stress and work-related injuries.
“Such programmes and campaigns will help reduce injuries and heat stress and will improve health and safety standards to achieve the welfare of labourers,” he added.
Additionally, the Ministry of Labour has already carried out 2,003 inspections in Dubai, 688 in the Western Region, 3,194 in Sharjah and other emirates to ensure that companies are adhering to the midday break rule.