Few workers seen outdoors as midday work ban takes effect in Qatar

Construction site

Elysia Windrum

Many local companies appeared to be adhering to the Qatari government’s midday outdoor work ban, which took effect today, June 15, and runs until Aug. 31.

The ban, which takes effect during the peak summer months, requires companies to stop outdoor work from 11:30am to 3pm.

Of the 10 construction sites around West Bay visited this afternoon by Doha News, eight of them were empty of workers between this time period.

QP District

Elysia Windrum

However, on the site of QP District, a collection of buildings that are being constructed for Qatar Petroleum, work proceeded full-speed ahead during the early afternoon.

This was despite a memo posted by contractors Midmac and Al Jaber Engineering on site that said workers should only be indoors during the afternoon shifts. A handful of men could be seen at work outside, while several more worked inside the under-construction buildings, parts of which had no air conditioning or windows.

Speaking to Doha News, a security guard there said:

“Last year, the QP management obeyed the summer workers ban, but this year they haven’t. The workers here are working 24 hours a day, taking different shifts.”

QP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reminders

The midday summer work ban has been in effect since 2007, but is not always observed by companies.

construction site

Elysia Windrum

However, this year, Qatar’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) has issued stern reminders to companies to follow the midday work ban. Businesses that do not rearrange their employees’ schedules to adhere to the new timings could be closed for up to one month.

In addition to stopping outdoor work in the afternoon, businesses are also required to post the working hours’ timetable in a visible place. Workers should also have access to shade and drinking water during this time.

MOLSA has also advised anyone who sees workers outdoors during this time to call their hotline at 44241101. However, no one answered the phone when Doha News called the number this afternoon.

Earlier this month, as temperatures began rising past 40C, some companies told Doha News that they had already begun voluntarily observing the midday work ban, allowing their employees to cease working from 11:30am to 3pm.

But other businesses said they planned to continue working as usual, unless the government instructed them to do otherwise.

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