New construction law

UAE Labour Ministry extends midday work ban by one month...

A new law announced by the UAE Labour Ministry on Sunday has extended the summer midday working ban by one month.

According to a ministry statement the midday working ban, which prevents labourers from working outside between the hours of 12.30pm and 3pm, will be enforced from June 15 until September 15, compared to previous years when it ended in August.

Under the new law, labourers must down tools during these hours if working outside, while those working on projects exempted from the rules must be provided with enough cold water, lemon, salt and healthy salads between these times.

Companies working on emergency projects can apply to the ministry to be exempted from the midday ban, and these are determined on a case by case basis.

According to the statement, workers must also leave the construction site between these hours, unless they are staff required to remain on site for safety reasons.

"This law came after long discussions with the ministry's partners to make sure that labourers get their full rights and to make sure at the same time the companies do not suffer financial damage," Saqr Gobash, Labour Minister, said.

All construction companies must display the new law in a prominent place in Arabic and one other language the workers can understand, the statement said.

Companies who fail to abide by the new law will face a AED10,000 ($2,723) fine and will be downgraded to a Group C company. If the company is already in Group C it will not be granted any new work permits for at least six months.

Firms who break the law a second time will face a fine of AED20,000 as well as being downgraded and banned from getting new work permits, while the fine for third time offenders will be tripled to AED30,000, the statement said.

Since the midday working ban was introduced in 2006 more companies are complying with the laws each year, the ministry said.

In 2006, 84 percent of companies complied with the rule compared to 99 percent last year, according to ministry figures.

The number of inspection visits has also increased during this time from 4,537 in 2006 to 83,377 in 2009, the statement said.

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