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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Qatar takes action against 54 companies for violating summer labour hours

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Qatari authorities have revealed that 54 companies have been fined for not adhering to summer working hour laws.

Some 54 companies have been fined by authorities in Qatar for failing to comply with a law that bans outdoor work for certain hours during the summer, the ministry said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (ADLSA) announced it had carried out intensive inspections this month, “with the purpose of ensuring that companies adhere to the necessary precautions to protect workers from heat stress in open work sites during the summer period.”

“54 companies that work in the contracting, building, maintenance, gardening, and decoration sectors have committed violations,” the ministry added, without providing further details of those violations.

Per new legislation, staff are prohibited to work outside between 10am and 3:30pm starting from June 1 and up until September 15 every year.

Read also: Qatar introduces new law to protect workers from summer heat

This replaces earlier legislation issued in 2007 that set the prohibited outdoor summertime working hours from 11:30am to 3:00pm between June 15 until August 31.

The ministry called on all companies in various sectors to adhere to set hours during the summer season for work performed under the sun or in open outdoor workplaces.

In addition, the new resolution states that all work must stop if the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) rises beyond 32.1 °C in a particular workplace, regardless of the time. The index takes into consideration the ambient temperature, humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed.

This means that workers will not be allowed to work during extremely hot weather, even if it falls outside the set prohibited summertime hours.

Workers must also be provided with personal protective equipment suitable for hot weather, including light, loose-fitting clothing, and receive annual free medical examinations to diagnose and manage chronic diseases that may contribute to the risk of heat stress.

In recent years, the government has been heavily engaged in implementing new laws and regulations to ensure workers’ safety ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

As part of the major labour reform agenda, Qatar has drastically enhanced monitoring across the board to detect violations, enacting swifter penalties and further strengthening the capacity of labour inspectors, according to an announcement made by the Government Communications Office (GCO).

These labour reforms include the introduction of a non-discriminatory minimum wage and the dismantling of the controversial “kafala” or sponsorship system.


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