Essential workers do it with a smile on holidays

It could be the nature of their job, but they also do it because of their desire to serve people

Dubai, Abu Dhabi: Tens of thousands of revellers rested from work and celebrated with family on the first day of Eid Al Fitr in the UAE on Friday.

But for these diligent few, it’s business as usual as they strive to keep people safe and comfortable during the holidays carrying out their duties.

Essential workers such as police and Civil Defence, paramedics and doctors, salespersons, hoteliers, taxi and bus drivers, metro and airport operators, delivery boys and people in the services sector often don’t get the opportunity to take a long break as the rest of the population do during Eid.

However, many of them still serve with a smile since it’s part of their job and knowing how important their work is for the community.

Workers required to work on official holidays are entitled to compensatory days off according to the number of days they worked during the holiday period, based on Article 81 of the UAE Labour Law. If the workers are not given leave in lieu, employers should pay them 150 per cent of their basic wage according to the days they worked.

Here are some such employees who worked during the Eid holiday this year:

Hamad Abdul Latif Al Harmodi, 30, Emirati, who was on duty at the Customer Service Centre of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport: “I worked from 6am until 2pm on the first day of Eid on Friday. It is normal for me to work during Eid as we serve the public and help them finish their transactions. The centre works 24 hours for people who have emergency situations. I’m serving my country and it is an honour to me to work during Eid,” Al Harmodi told Gulf News.

Since he joined the department in 2007, he had been on duty during Eid days on a number of occasions according to the shift system.

“I have one son and my family understands the nature of my work. I still have time to come back to my family after 2pm and spend the rest of Eid with them and having lunch and visit other family members.”

Faris Bardan, 32, Emirati, head of the Deira Ambulance Unit, Dubai Corporation of Ambulance Services: “To be honest with you, I’m really happy to be working today because first of all, I really love my job. So it doesn’t matter if it’s Eid or any other big occasion. I need to work to represent myself and my country, and the institution I work for. It’s really my pleasure to work and give all my efforts to help people. Every single member of this umbrella or the emergency services sector is important. I want to be there so that I can supervise the staff, the ambulance crew and make sure that everybody is giving his best as a leader, not only as a normal paramedic or a driver. I’m there to make sure that everybody is giving his 100 per cent effort. I’ll celebrate Eid Al Fitr with my family after my shift. My kids have been calling me, excited for the Eid celebrations, but I couldn’t answer them because of work. I’ll be home to celebrate with them soon.”

Dr Anbalagan Subramania, Indian orthopaedic surgeon: “It’s normal for me to work on the Eid holidays. Hospitals and emergency services need to always be running no matter which day it is. We sometimes get very sick patients to the hospital even when it’s a holiday and so I have to be on call ready to treat such patients. During the Eid holidays, we have 10 specialists and 10 general practitioners along with the nursing staff who are all working. This is a 24/7 job. I work an eight-hour shift. After I finish my shift, I can go and spend time with my family, so it’s not a big problem really. As a doctor, I’m happy to always be there to help people.”

Mohammad Nawaz, Pakistani butchery shop owner: “I am happy to work during Eid Al Fitr. As a Muslim, I believe there is a good reward to help the people. I don’t think shops should be closed during Eid. We should all be there ready to assist the people and to make their day easier and more joyous. I get a lot of orders and requests especially during Eid holidays as there are many families who are celebrating the occasion. And so I must be there in my shop because what will these people do if my shop is closed?”

Mohammad Mubashir, Pakistani baker: “I work on Eid Al Fitr but I get paid extra so I’m happy and don’t have anything to complain about. We get a lot of customers during Eid and so I am pleased if I can help them. People want to enjoy their holiday with friends and families. Many of them come to the shop to buy pastries as gifts and so we are busy with work. If I can make the people happy on Eid, then I am also happy.”

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