08/20/2009 10:28 PM
Dubai: Companies which do not reduce their work day by two hours during Ramadan will face penalties which could reach up to criminal prosecution, said a senior Ministry of Labour official.
Maher Al Obad, Acting Executive Director for inspection affairs at the ministry, told Gulf News that the ministry will crack down on any company in the private sector which does not adhere to Ramadan timings as stipulated by the law.
"Ensuring that companies comply with the regulations lies at the core of the ministry's inspection work therefore we will conduct daily inspections during to ensure that violators are penalised," said Al Obad.
"There are different types of penalties, starting from administrative penalties such as stopping a company's transaction at the ministry, but the regulations also give us the authority to refer violating companies to the public prosecution," added Al Obad.
As per the labour law, companies should reduce their working day by two hours during the month of Ramadan for both Muslims and non-Muslims and those who work a full day are entitled to overtime or companies will face penalties.
"The labour law article stipulating reduction of work hours during Ramadan is a mandatory provision and the ministry has the right to refer anybody who breaks these provisions to the public prosecution," said Al Obad. However no company has been referred to the public prosecution in previous years, according to Al Obad.
This year, the first ten days of Ramadan coincides with the Midday break rule which stipulates a halt of all outdoor work between 12.30 pm to 3 pm during July and August. "The fact that Ramadan coincides with the midday break gives some employers' opportunity to follow the Ramadan timings more easily this year as they are already in the habit of less hours," said Al Obad.
ABDUL RAHMAN/Gulf News
Fruit vendors unload watermelons at Mina Fuits and Vegetables Market in Abu Dhabi. This year, the first ten days of Ramadan coincides with the Midday break rule which stipulates a halt of all outdoor work between 12.30 pm and 3 pm during the months of July and August.