UAE Prohibits Private Firms from Employing Students in 31 Hazardous Work Categories

The maximum working hours for students are set at six hours per day, with one or more rest intervals

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 24, 2024, 11:24:04


students working in hazardous work categories

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has prohibited private sector establishments from hiring and training students during vacations in 31 specific categories of work and professions deemed hazardous.

This ban includes roles such as underground work in mines and quarries, activities related to the extraction of metals and stones, working in furnaces for smelting metals, bakery ovens, petroleum refineries, cement plants, ice and refrigeration plants and welding jobs.

The ministry has established administrative and professional requirements for establishments and employers wishing to train and employ students. One key requirement is that students must not work at night in industrial projects. The maximum working hours for students are set at six hours per day, with one or more rest intervals.

MoHRE has indicated that UAE laws allow citizen students and resident expatriates aged 15 years and above to work and receive training in private sector establishments, provided a contract is written outlining the nature of the work and other related matters. The federal law regulating labour relations prohibits the employment of juveniles under the age of 15, and the ministry does not issue work permits to anyone under this age.

The ministry has specified six administrative and professional obligations for establishments and employers wishing to train or employ juvenile students during academic leave.

These include not employing them at night in industrial projects. "Night" is defined as a period of no less than 12 consecutive hours from 8pm to 6am the next morning. The maximum actual working hours for a juvenile student are fixed at six hours per day, with one or more periods for rest, eating, or prayer (totalling no less than an hour), ensuring that students do not work more than four consecutive hours.

If a student’s working hours include a rehabilitation or training period, it is counted within their working hours. Under no circumstances is it permissible for a juvenile student to remain in the workplace or training for more than seven consecutive hours.

According to MoHRE, the six obligations for employing students include not assigning a juvenile student to work overtime and ensuring they are not kept in the workplace beyond their scheduled hours. Students may not be trained or employed on rest days.

Employers must also train juvenile students in occupational safety and health methods, monitor their application of these methods, and provide a working or training environment suitable for all workers while considering the juvenile's circumstances.

Additionally, employers must inform the student’s guardians or legal guardians of any illness, absence, or behaviour during work or training hours that requires attention. Finally, employers must not train or employ juvenile students in any prohibited work.

The ministry lists 31 types of prohibited work, including underground work in mines and quarries, metal and stone extraction, work in furnaces for smelting or refining minerals, petroleum refineries, bakery ovens, cement factories, ice and refrigeration factories, mirror treatment with mercury, firecracker manufacturing, glass melting and maturing and welding with oxygen, acetylene, and electricity.

Other prohibited activities include painting with lead-based compounds, processing or storing ash containing lead, extracting silver from lead, manufacturing tin and metal compounds with over 10 per cent lead, manufacturing lead monoxide, lead oxide, lead carbonate, lead sulphate, chromates and sulphate, and processes involving the manufacturing or repairing of electric batteries.

The list also includes cleaning workshops where hazardous work is practised, managing or monitoring moving machines, repairing or cleaning machines while operational, asphalt manufacturing, oil production by mechanical methods, fertiliser manufacturing, working in fertiliser warehouses and factories for mineral acids and chemical crops.

Additional occupational prohibitions include working in tanneries, animal skinning, cutting and fat melting, rubber manufacturing, filling cylinders with compressed gases, loading and unloading goods at docks, ports, and warehouses, transporting passengers by land or water, making charcoal from animal bones (except for sorting bones before burning), bleaching, dyeing and printing textiles, working as hosts in amusement parks, working in bars, and carrying, pulling, or pushing weights. Students are also prohibited from working overtime and from being employed on rest days.

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