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Saturday, June 13, 2020

MoHRE to enforce midday work ban decision from Monday

As of Monday, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) will begin implementing a decision banning work performed under the sun and in open places from 12:30pm to 3:00pm until 15 September.

The MoHRE confirmed that the results of the midday work ban decision last year and in previous years achieved great positive results in preserving workers’ health and occupational safety during the banned hours. The decision also proved the effectiveness of partnership with the private sector and the importance of the societal role in monitoring its implementation, it added, noting that this reflected the humanitarian role played by the Emirati society and its institutions.

The decision necessitated a package of preventive measures and regulations to be implemented with the aim of protecting workers from exposure to direct sunlight and stress as a result of high temperatures and humidity. It also necessitated a set of awareness and guidance initiatives to be implemented in partnership with a number of government and private entities and institutions.

The MoHRE valued the interaction of the society and the private sector with the decision and its various measures, particularly participation in implementing the initiatives, under which water and juices were distributed on workers at worksites and during breaks. The commitment of the society and the private sector to apply the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 was also valued.

The decision obligated employers to place a schedule of daily working hours in a prominent site in the workplace as per the provisions of this decision, provided that in addition to Arabic, the schedule must be written in the language that workers understand.

The decision also required employers to provide appropriate protective devices that protect workers from injuries they might sustain as a result of using machines and other tools and to follow all other methods of protection provided in the labor Law and its executive ministerial decisions. Workers, on the other hand, must follow the instructions aimed at protecting them from dangers and stop doing anything that would impede the implementation of instructions.

The MoHRE urged members of the society to report any violations by calling the toll free number 80060, which is available round the clock in four different languages, stressing the key role played by the residents in ‘Taqyeem’ centers in detecting violations, which are received by the MoHRE in accordance with the observed measures and regulations.

Under the decision, an employer will be held responsible for hiring workers during the midday work ban, and so will anyone who illegally hires a worker in contravention of the provisions thereof.

The decision also obligates employers to provide their workers with a shaded place to rest in during their breaks.

Under the decision, daily working hours for morning, evening or both shifts, are not to exceed eight hours. If a worker has worked for more than eight hours within 24 hours, the extra time will be deemed overtime, for which the worker is to be paid in accordance with the provisions of the federal law on regulation of labor relations.

Any establishment that does not comply with the terms and conditions of the decision will be fined AED5,000 per worker and a maximum of AED50,000 in case multiple workers are employed during the ban. In addition, the breaching establishment will have its file suspended or its status downgraded in the MoHRE-approved establishment classification system based on how grave the breach is.

The MoHRE allows the violating establishments to file a grievance within 10 days from the date the fine is imposed by submitting a request with the necessary documents so as to be examined by a special committee for a final decision.

The decision stipulates that each concerned party may file a grievance in writing with the MoHRE against any of the administrative fines taken against it as referred to under Article (3) thereof within (10) ten working days from the date the party has been notified of the fine, provided that the grievance is reasoned and all supporting documents are attached thereto.

It is scheduled that any work that must continue for technical reasons be exempt from the ban, provided that employers must provide cool drinking water in proportion with the number of workers and in accordance with health and public safety requirements. In addition, they must provide thirst-quenching items such as minerals, lemon etc. as approved for use by the local authorities together with first-aid kits in the workplace. In all cases, the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 must be observed.

The excluded work includes mixing asphalt and pouring concrete, if the work cannot be carried out or completed during the afternoon. Also excluded is work to prevent expected danger, damage, malfunction or accidental loss such as those pertaining to repairing damage in water supply lines, sewerage, electricity, gas and petroleum pipelines as well as cutting off traffic and blocking public roads.

It also includes the work that requires a permit from a competent government entity due to its impact on smooth traffic and services, provided that the permit stipulates that work should be continued round the clock until it is completed. This includes any authorized work such as cutting off or diverting traffic, cutting off electricity and communication lines and any other work pending approval.

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