The standard limit for daily work hours is eight, with a weekly maximum of 48 hours. However, these hours are usually reduced during the holy month.
Question: Can you provide information regarding office policies and working hours during the upcoming month of Ramadan? Our company requires staff to be present at all times, and I am wondering if it is permissible to have employees who are fasting work during evening hours.
Response: Based on your inquiries, it is presumed that you are an employer operating within the UAE. Additionally, it is assumed that your company has a three-shift schedule, with each shift consisting of an eight-hour workday. As such, the regulations outlined in Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations are relevant to your query.
In the UAE, the regular maximum working hours per day is eight hours a day or 48 per week. This is in accordance with Article 17(1) of the Employment Law.
During the month of Ramadan, the working hours are reduced by two hours per day. This is in accordance with Article 15(2) of Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022, which states:
“Subject to the provisions of Article 17 of the Employment Law the regular working hours shall be reduced by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan."
In accordance with the regulations outlined above, it is permissible for an employer to reduce the standard shift duration from eight hours to six hours, with any additional hours worked being deemed as overtime.
This is in accordance with Article 19(2) of the Employment Law, which states:
"If the work circumstances require that the employee be employed for hours exceeding the ordinary working hours, such extended time shall be deemed overtime for which the employee shall be paid his basic salary for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of that salary.”
In addition, certain categories of employees or sectors of employment may be exempt from overtime payment. These categories may include managers or supervisors within an organization or employees involved in technical work on a shift basis.
This is in accordance with Article 15(4) (b) and (d) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which states:
"The following categories shall be exempted from the provisions related to the maximum working hours.
b. The persons occupying supervisory position if such positions vest in them the powers of the employers.
d. Those engaged in work which is required by reasons of technical nature to be carried on continuously by a succession shift, subject to the condition that the average working hours do not exceed 56 hours per week.”
As a goodwill gesture, it may be advisable to schedule your Muslim employees for shifts other than the evening one, allowing them to break their fast and engage in prayer.
News Source: Khaleej Times