Wednesday 23rd of September 2020 |
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Labour Ministry issues circular limiting outdoor work under direct sunlight


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Labour Minister Nidal Bataineh on Sunday issued a circular banning employers from having their employees work in open areas under direct sunlight between 12 noon and 3pm.
The circular was issued in light of the heat wave currently impacting the Kingdom, which on Friday and Saturday witnessed very high unprecedented temperatures for September.
The minister said that employers are, however, allowed to have their employees compensate for the three hours either in early morning shifts or evening shifts until the heat wave ceases.
He also highlighted the importance of committing to vocational health and safety regulations as per the guidelines issued by the ministry to protect labourers and provide a proper working environment that does not pose any dangers to them during working hours.
Bataineh added that any employer who violates the regulation will be penalised as per Article 84 of the Labour Law.
Article 84 stipulates that the minister can completely or partially shutdown a business, if the owner violates the law, or suspend the work of any machinery if the violation exposes employees to risk, and this continues until the employers rectifies the violation.
The closure of business does not occur until the minister issues a warning to the employer, which instructs them to rectify the violation within a set timeframe based on the gravity of the violation.
The article also stipulates that the closure of the business or any machinery does not violate workers’ rights, who are entitled to their full dues during the closure or suspension period. 
The minister can refer the violator to the designated court, where they are fined a minimum JD100 to a maximum JD500, with the fine multiplying in case of recurrent violations, and the minimum fine cannot be lowered for any reason whatsoever, according to the article. 
On Friday, an Egyptian worker in the agriculture sector died of sunstroke while working at a farm in the Kraymeh area in north Ghor. The deceased, who was in his 40s, was taken to the ICU ward after the sunstroke and passed away after his condition deteriorated.
At the time, the temperatures in Ghor area reached around 50°C and 44°C in Amman. 
The second death occurred on Saturday when a man in his 30s died in the same area, prompting Irbid Governor Radwan Otoum to suspend schools on Sunday in coordination with the Education Ministry to keep students safe.
The Jordan Labour Watch (JLW) at the beginning of September issued a statement on daily wageworkers toiling under direct sunlight for long periods of time, highlighting the dangers to their health and safety.
At the time, the JLW interviewed workers in the construction and agriculture sector, who complained about having to work in the peak heat hours with “no mercy shown to them by employers”, in spite of many warnings by the Jordan Meteorological Department regarding the dangers of the heat wave. 

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