Muscat: The Ministry of Manpower has issued a directive to all companies, especially construction firms in the country, to stop work at all sites between 12.30pm and 3.30pm, from June to August.
Stressing that the mid-day break aims at providing relief to workers from the high summer temperatures, a Ministry of Manpower official said, "Like every year, work at sites in open spaces must stop during the given time."
He warned that the ministry would take legal action against those violating this regulation.
"The order not only benefits the workers but also the employers because this could increase productivity," the source said.
He added that the mid-day break would also help cut down on-site accidents and incidents due to the intense heat.
"The rule is about workers' rights and the ministry is keen to protect and see to it that it is carried out," the source said.
The ministry would spare no efforts in following up on this directive and taking legal action against establishments found violating the mid-day break rule for workers, the source said.
The Ministry of Manpower had carried out several intensive inspections last years at work sites to ensure compliance with the provisions of the mid-day break rule during the afternoon hours in summer.
The regulations on occupational safety and health at facilities governed by the Labour Law issued by Ministerial Decision No. 286/2008, Article 16, prohibits the employment of workers at construction sites or in open spaces during periods of high temperature, such as during the afternoon hours from 12:30pm to 3:30pm in the months of June, July, and August.
35 companies fined
In 2013, the Ministry of Manpower fined close to 35 companies for violating the mid-day break rule applicable during the afternoon hours of the summer season.
Article 118 of the Labour Law states that violators would be penalised either with a fine not less than OMR100 and not more than OMR500, or a jail term of not more than one year, or both, and also that repeated violations would lead to the penalty being doubled.
"The Ministry of Manpower put in place awareness programmes last year regarding the regulation of working hours during peak summer and it received an overwhelming response," the official informed.
"We request all the firms in the private sector to abide by the rule," said the official.
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