Qatar’s Labour and Social Affairs Minister H E Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi said yesterday he hopes the country’s “kafala” system will be abolished before the end of this year.
Summer work timings being enforced
Summer working hours for construction sites and open spaces will be enforced from June 15, but the Ministry of Labor has said employers should follow daily weather reports until then and if the mercury soars, work must stop.
The summer timings for site work were announced by the Ministry yesterday, according to which work must stop between 11.30am and 3pm from June 15 until August 31, giving workers and afternoon break of three-and-a-half hours.
The Ministry has warned that violation of the working hour rules will attract immediate punitive action and work on a site concerned will be halted for at least a month. “That’s the minimum punishment,” cautioned the Ministry, Qatar News Agency reported yesterday.
In a first, construction and contracting firms have also been asked to make a prominent display on their sites of the summer working hours on a daily basis for the workers as well as labour inspectors to see it clearly.
“The notice displaying working hours must be put in a prominent place so that it is clearly visible and every worker as also labour inspector can see,” said the Ministry statement. Making a detailed announcement, unlike in the past when the statements used to be brief, the Ministry, talking of the health and safety of site workers, said building and contracting firms must follow weather reports on a daily basis until June 15. “This is important for maintaining health and safety of workers during the summer months.”
Workers can under no circumstances be asked to put in more than five hours of duty on a site in the mornings between June 15 and August 31.
Violations are to be directly intimated to the minister by the Labor Inspection Department, after which he will issue a decision ordering stoppage of work at a site for a minimum of one month, according to the Ministry statement. Qatar, in conformity with its labour law, introduces changed timings every year during peak summer.