Firms in Qatar whose employees work outdoors should prepare to shift around their schedules next week when the summer midday work ban takes effect, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) has said.
The annual ban runs from June 15 to Aug. 31, and mandates that laborers not spend more than five hours working outdoors during the mornings.
On Twitter, MOLSA warned of penalties for companies whose workers were found on duty from 11:30am to 3pm, saying they could be closed for up to one month. It continued:
“Employers must place the working hours’ timetable at the work place, according to the decree. The timetable should be in a visible place where all workers can see and labor inspectors can easily notice during their inspection visits.”
MOLSA also listed a hotline for people to call in case they spot violations: 44241101.
This year appears set to be one of Qatar’s hottest on record, with temperatures already regularly exceeding 40C.
This week feels particularly sticky due to high humidity. According to Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist for Al Jazeera English, this type of weather doesn’t normally set in until mid-July.
But she told Doha News that winds should help clear away the humidity by the weekend.
While some companies have voluntarily changed their employees’ working hours already, many workers can still be observed toiling outdoors during the sweltering afternoon hours.
To help them cope, more construction companies have been exploring the idea of incorporating high-tech cooling gear into uniforms.
TechNiche International, for example, sells wrist and headbands that are soaked in water for a couple of minutes and can cool the wearer for up to four hours, as well as inserts that are filled with a special liquid that stays cold when slipped into one’s pocket.
The company’s Qatar manager said sales have gone from negligible in 2013 to in the seven digits last year.