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Construction companies warned about Ramadam discrimination

Construction companies urged to reduce working hours for fasting workers during the holy month of Ramadam

The UAE’S Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has warned construction companies against discriminating between Muslim and non-Muslim workers regarding working hours during the holy month of Ramadam.

The Ministry has received numerous enquiries about Ramadam working hours, the specific rules for private-sector employees as well as many complaints concerning potential working hours and conditions during the holy month.

“It is amazing that after all those years of implementing the Federal Labour Law number eight of 1980 which clearly states that the number of daily working hours in Ramadan are to be reduced by two hours, many establishments still do not understand this rule,” an official at the Ministry said. He added that many companies have issued circulars informing their staff that the working hours will be reduced from eight hours to six hours only for the workers who fast.

“How is it possible for a company to tell who fasts and who doesn’t. The law was very clear in this regard as it clearly stipulated the reduction of the working hours,” the official said. “The UAE is a multi-cultural environment where the human being is respected regardless of his or her religion or cultural background. Accordingly, the law did not discriminate between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, and hence the reduction in the number of daily working hours applies to all employees,” the official added.

Companies that differentiate between employees on the basis of their religion that they will be subject to penalties including blacklisting and the suspension of their dealings with the ministry, per ministerial regulations concerning the penalties for breaking the rules.

If a company has a lot of work that requires employees to work for more than six hours a day during Ramadan, it can make its employees work longer but not for more than two hours of overtime for which the workers will be entitled to extra pay.

“The company has to compensate its workers who put in more overtime hours in Ramadan by paying them per hour the salary of one hour and a half if they work at night and one hour and quarter if they work during the day,” the official confirmed.

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