The UAE introduces 4.5 working days, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday the new weekend for government employees.

The United Arab Emirates announced at the end of 2021 that all government entities would adopt a new work-week schedule consisting of 4.5 days with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.

The move came into effect on January 1, 2022, making the working week more in line with Western schedules. The UAE previously had a Friday-Saturday weekend, which corresponds with other countries in the region.

The transition is “in line with the UAE’s vision to enhance its global competitiveness across economic and business sectors, and to keep pace with global developments”, the Abu Dhabi government media office said in a statement. “The UAE is the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week,”

Under the new model, employees will have to complete an eight-hour workday from Monday to Thursday but are only expected to work only for 4.5 hours on Friday.

Government employees will also be allowed to choose “flexible work or work-from-home options” on Fridays.

Meanwhile, Friday sermons and prayers will be held at 1:15pm.

“The extended weekend comes as part of the UAE government’s efforts to boost work-life balance and enhance social wellbeing, while increasing performance to advance the UAE’s economic competitiveness,” the  report said.

In predominantly Muslim countries, Friday is usually considered the holiest day of the week. In some of the neighbouring countries, shops and vendors are prohibited from opening before Friday prayers end.

While becoming the only Gulf country not to have a Friday-Saturday weekend, the resource-rich and ambitious UAE now comes into line with the non-Arab world.

Boost productivity

The weekend alignment with Europe and Asia “will help internationally orientated business that are an important pillar of the economy and could attract investment”.

Private industry and schools are likely to follow suit. The UAE has in the past year taken measures to make its economy more attractive to foreign investment and talent, including introducing longer-term visas.

based on article in Aljazeera


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