Dubai: A mandatory midday break for labourers who work in the sun during the summer months will start from June 15, according to the Ministry of Labour.
In the decision, issued Wednesday, companies will have to give a two-and-a-half hour break from 12.30pm to 3pm to labourers who work in open areas such as construction sites.
The three-month midday break rule will be enforced from June 15 until September 15 this year.
The ministerial decision also stated that daily working hours must not exceed eight hours in the morning or night shifts, and overtime should be paid to those working additional hours.
Minister of Labour, Saqr Ghobash, issued the decision which said labourers must not work at all during the banned hours if they usually work outside. But companies working on emergency projects can apply to the ministry to become exempt from the midday ban, and these will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Works which must continue for technical reasons are also exempt from the ban, though the order says, "employers are demanded to provide all facilities that cater to the health of workers including first aid, air-conditioners, sunshades and cold water."
Workers can continue in banned hours if they are working on projects that cannot be postponed for technical reasons such as repairing damages in water pipes, petrol pipes, sewage pipes or on the disconnection of electrical lines.
This also includes those working on projects licenced from governmental departments which could affect the movement of traffic if the work should stop for few hours, or also that which could effect electrical, water supplies or etisalat.
Employers who have labourers working on projects exempt from the rules must be provided with enough cold water, lemon, salt and healthy salads during working hours.
Employers are also instructed to provide a shaded area for workers to rest in during the midday break and employers must provide adequate preventive methods to protect workers from work-related injuries.
Companies who violate the midday summer break will face penalties. First time offenders will have their firms downgraded to category C for at least three months, and will be fined Dh10,000. Category C firms will not have any work permits issued for at least six months.
The second time offender firms will be downgraded to category C and will have no work permits processed for nine months and will be fined Dh15,000.
Third time offenders will pay fine of Dh20,000 and will be downgraded to category C and will not be issued labour permits for at least one year.
Employers must post notice of daily work timings, "at a noticeable place at the work site so the ministry inspectors can see it clearly during their inspection visits".