Every year across the GCC countries, annual summer time working hours are implemented to protect the health and safety of employees pursuant to applicable Ministerial Resolutions. These Resolutions place restrictions on the hours between which employers can require their employees to carry out any sort of work under direct sunlight. There is a specific Ministerial Resolution for each GCC country which states the dates and hours which are restricted in that country (see table below).
|Country||Dates the restriction comes in effect||Hours the restriction is in place||Ministerial Decision|
|Bahrain||1 July 2016 to 31 August 2016||12.00 pm to 4.00 pm ||Article 1 of Ministerial Resolution No. 3 of 2013|
|Kuwait||1 June 2016 to 31 August 2016||11.00 am to 4.00 pm ||Ministerial Resolution No. 189/L of 2010 as amended by Ministerial Resolution No. 212/L of 2011 |
|Oman||1 June 2016 to 31 August 2016 ||12.30 pm to 3.30 pm ||Article 16/3-3 of Ministerial Resolution No. 286/2008 as amended by Ministerial Resolution No. 322/2011 |
|Qatar||15 June 2016 to 31 August 2016||11.30 am to 3.00 pm ||Ministerial Resolution No. 16 of 2007 |
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||15 June 2016 to 15 September 2016 ||12. 00 pm to 3.00 pm ||Ministerial Decision No. 3337, dated 14/05/2014 |
|United Arab Emirates||15 June 2016 to 16 September 2016 ||12.30 pm to 3.00 pm ||Ministerial Decree No. 401 of 2015 |
In addition to prohibiting employers from forcing employees to carry out work under direct sunlight during the restricted hours outlined above, some of the GCC countries have their own further requirements regarding employers' responsibilities. We have summarised these requirements below.
|Bahrain||The employer should display in a visible place the summer time working hours which can be easily seen by staff and inspectors|
|Oman||The employer should ensure that: |
|Qatar||The employer should display in a visible place the summer time working hours which can be easily seen by staff and inspectors|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||N/A|
|United Arab Emirates||Employees must be provided with a shaded area during rest breaks. |
Employers must display in a prominent location the daily working hours in Arabic and any other language that is understood by employees.
Employers must provide appropriate protective equipment to avoid occupational injuries and disease, in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law.
Some GCC countries have implemented limited exceptions to the summer time working hours and the additional requirements highlighted above. We have summarised these exceptions below:
- Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Those workers that work for oil and gas companies as well as maintenance workers who are required for emergencies, are excluded.
- Qatar - Those workers that work for oil and gas companies are excluded.
- United Arab Emirates - Work that must be non-stop for technical reasons is exempt from the midday rest period provided that employees have cold drinking water; rehydration sachets, lemons and any other substances approved by the health authorities; first aid; artificial refrigeration; and protective shade against direct sunlight.
Penalties for non-compliance
Employers who do not comply with the applicable Ministerial Resolution on summer time working hours can face severe penalties, which vary depending on location but can include fines and temporary or permanent closure of the establishment.
The penalties are summarised below:
|Oman||Inspectors in charge of monitoring safety and health of employees shall be authorised to take the following procedures: |
|Qatar||A work location can be closed by a Ministerial decision for a period not exceeding 1 month.|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia|| |
|United Arab Emirates||A special record shall be prepared to document any violation and: |