DUBAI – In a major change, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has slashed its working week to four and a half day and changing its weekend from Fridays and Saturday to Saturdays and Sundays.
The move, which will come into effect from January 1, 2022, aims at aligning the economy with global market.
The move applies to Federal government entities and comes alongside new working hours, with Monday to Thursday workdays now starting at 7:30 am and ending at 3:30 pm, and Friday working hours from 7:30 am – 12:00 pm, said official news agency WAM.
Alongside the move, Friday sermons and prayers across the UAE will be held from 1:15 pm. Government staff will have the flexibility to make arrangements to work from home on Fridays, as well as to arrange their working hours on a flexi-time basis.
The UAE is the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week.
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.
Adopting an agile working system will enable the UAE to rapidly respond to emerging changes and enhance wellbeing in the workplace.
From an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the UAE with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map. 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 thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies.
The new working week will also bring the UAE’s financial sector into closer alignment with global real-time trading and communications-based transactions such as those driving global stock markets, banks and financial institutions. The move is expected to boost not only trading opportunities but also add to the flexible, secure and enjoyable lifestyle the UAE offers to its citizens and residents.
The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources proposed the new workweek following comprehensive benchmarking and feasibility studies reflecting potential impacts of the move on the economy, social and family ties and the overall wellbeing of people in the UAE.