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When it comes to labour standards, the UAE is far from perfect, but considering the slight alterations in its four-year-old midday break rule, things are getting better.
June 4, 2011 4:34 by p.deleon
When saw this article in Thursday’s Gulf News discussing the labour “midday break” we found ourselves furrowing our eyebrows. “Pretty good, but not good enough” is what we thought.
If you aren’t familiar with the midday break rule, here is what Gulf News had to say about it:
“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 first thing that popped into our minds when we read this, was “June? Why so late?” Why is the rule going to be in effect only from June 15th? And having to brave the heat on a regular basis, Kipp knows just how unbearably hot it can be outside of the MoL’s generous time slot of “12:30 to 15:00.” Sure it is a great thing that the Ministry is concerning themselves with these issues, but that is that good enough.
So off we went to the archives, convinced we’ll be able to dig up some dirt on these new laws from the past. But when we had a closer look here is what we found:
1) When the rule was first implemented four years ago, it was effective only from July to August.
2) Since the rule was enforced there were several articles of the Ministry of Labour driving around and spotting companies offending the law and fining them. Take for instance this article or this one.
So, what can we say? Things are getting better. Sure the situation in the UAE aren’t completely HRW compliant, but it isn’t as awful as Kipp would like to grumble about.