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Companies urged to follow the midday break rule

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Muscat: The Ministry of Labour has warned all establishments and cautioned them against employing the workforce (mainly the outdoor activities) during midday hours, between 12:30 and 3:30 pm.

The implementation of the rule has been eagerly awaited, with temperatures touching the mid-forties over the past few across the country, except down in Salalah, which is awaiting the Khareef season.

Article 16 of the Ministry of Labour decision 286/2008 bars outdoor workers from working in high temperatures for three months, with working hours usually split between two shifts.

The Ministry of Labour has mandated all construction sites and open areas to suspend work during midday hours to ensure the protection of workers.

An awareness campaign was conducted in all governorates by officials of the ministry.

The special provisions for workers include the provision of air-conditioned rest areas, rescheduling of physically demanding tasks to cooler hours, and implementing a rotational system where employees work for 45 minutes followed by a 15-minute break.

In relation to fuel stations, the ministry is actively engaged in community awareness campaigns to discourage refuelling during the midday period unless necessary.

"In the event of any infractions identified by establishments operating during midday hours, the ministry will take legal measures in accordance with stipulations of Article 118 of the Labour Law.

A dedicated task force will be monitoring the establishment following the violation, verifying its adherence, or referring the case to judicial authorities in the event of recurrence," the statement said.

Violations may incur fines of up to RO500 and a maximum imprisonment period of one month or a combination of both penalties.

Reports on non-compliant establishments can be submitted via phone or through the ministry's websites, and the specialised team properly verifies the claims and undertakes the requisite actions.

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