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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

Midday Break Rules In The UAE 2017

16th June 2017

The Midday Break, which prevents any work under direct sunlight in the UAE, between 12:30 - 3pm, came into force on Thursday 15th June 2017. This is the 13th consecutive year that the Midday Break has been enforced and it will run for three months until 15th September. It mainly affects construction workers and landscapers.

Work shifts and overtime during the Midday Break period

The Midday Break is based on health and safety procedures adopted by the UAE to prevent work-related injuries. Workers shifts are split into morning and night shifts. They can work up to eight hours daily. Any overtime worked, must be compensated accordingly by the employer of not less than 25% of that wage. The overtime remuneration is increased to 50% of the worker's wage if the work is carried out between 9pm - 4am.

Employers obligations during the Midday Break period

Employers are required to inform workers of the daily schedule during the midday break period. They are also required to provide shelter during the rest period. Furthermore, employers are urged to provide all necessary means to protect workers against injuries and illnesses during their working hours and to educate them on keeping safe at the workplace. This includes provision of health kits and distribution of awareness leaflets.

Enforcement of the Midday Break

A total of 60,000 inspections will be organised by 18 inspection teams during the three month period. Three inspection teams will operate in Abu Dhabi, two in Al Ain, four in Dubai, two in Sharjah, two in Ajman, two in Ras Al Khaimah, two in Fujairah and one in Umm Al Quwain.

According to Maher Al Obed, Assistant Undersecretary of Inspection Affairs, “Inspectors are scheduled to pay visits two hours prior to the 12:30 starting point, to secure targeted locations as marked by the smart inspection system. The system analyses data, following specific criteria, to prioritise follow-ups accordingly, all to ensure speed and accuracy.”

Penalties for non-compliance

Employers found to be breaking the rules will be fined AED5,000 per worker, up to a maximum of AED50,000. It also faces temporarily stoppage of operations.

Exclusions from the ban

Works excluded include work on mix asphalt poured concretes, if it is impossible to implement or supplement the necessary work in one day; or doing work to prevent expected danger or reparation or damage or malfunction or loss; and, emergency work, including cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity and cutting off traffic or blocking public roads, in addition to cut gas pipelines or petroleum flow. In such exceptional cases, where continuous work is necessary, employers must provide workers with cold water and other recommended items by the country’s health authorities such as salt and lemon. They must also provide first aid, air-conditioners and sunshades.

Results of the Midday Break in 2016

Last year, 99.72% of companies complied with the Midday Break regulations, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. A total of 66,302 companies were inspected. Of the inspections, 10,040 were in Abu Dhabi, 7,062 in Al Ain, 13,569 in Dubai, 7,197 in Sharjah, 7,522 in Ajman, 7,874 in Ras Al Khaimah, 4,275 in Umm Al Quwain, and 8,790 in Fujairah. Just 187 violations were registered.

The Ministry also conducted 32,974 educational visits across the UAE.

More information

For more information about the UAE's Safety in Heat campaign, organised by Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety And Health Center (OSHAD) please CLICK HERE.

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Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO
Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE

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