Turning in the United Arab Emirates. The government has decided to change the weekend from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday and establish a four and a half day work week. The rules will take effect from January 1, 2022, according to the official Wam news agency. In addition to Saturday-Sunday, the inhabitants of the Emirates will have an additional half day of rest on Friday afternoon, the day of the great weekly prayer in Muslim countries. The UAE are the first nation in the world to introduce a shorter workweek.
The decision – underlines Wam – “applies to federal government entities and is accompanied by new working hours, with working days from Monday to Thursday starting at 7.30 and ending at 15.30, on Fridays from 7.30 to 12.00”. On Friday prayers will be held from 1.15pm and government employees will be able to agree to work from home and organize hours flexibly.
“The UAE is the first nation in the world to introduce a national work week shorter than the global five-day week,” says the agency, noting that “the extended weekend is part of the government’s efforts to increase the balance between work and private life and improve social well-being “. In addition, “the new working week will align” the country with “global markets”, especially nations that respect Saturday and Sunday weekends, “facilitating stronger international trade ties and opportunities.”
In most Arab countries the weekend includes the days of Fridays and Saturdays, but after the decision of the Emirates, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will also align themselves with the weekly calendar adopted internationally.