Middle East/North Africa

UAE shifting to 4 1/2-day work week next year

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is officially moving to a four-and-a-half day working week next year, with the new weekend set to begin on Friday afternoon for both public sector workplaces and schools.

“Each company, depending on the sector they operate in and what suits and serves their business best, can choose the weekend they decide for their employees,” Abdulrahman al-Awar, the UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, told Reuters.

The country currently operates on a Friday-Saturday weekend but will now move expand this to include Sunday as well. Friday sermons and prayers will now be held at 1:15 p.m. across the country, slightly later than usual. 

The UAE government said it expects this new weekend to improve work-life balance and believes it will “ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday-Sunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities” for its businesses.

Reuters noted that the UAE has many laws designed to attract businesses and talent to the country, such as more liberalized rules recognizing living together before marriage, alcohol and long-term visas.

The change-up will affect banks such as the country’s central bank. Al-Awar said to Reuters that the central bank will communicate details on the new working hours to commercial banks.

He added, “This change will enhance the integration of the banking sector in the UAE with the banking community internationally… it will eliminate the gap that existed in the past.”

Tags Economy of the United Arab Emirates Emiratisation United Arab Emirates Western Asia Workweek and weekend
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