UAE to move weekend to Saturday and Sunday to align with global markets

Out-Law News | 09 Dec 2021 | 9:35 am | 1 min. read

Public Sector weekends will officially move to Saturday and Sunday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from next year, as the country tries to better align its working week with foreign markets.

The government also announced a four-and-a-half day working week for federal government civil servants.

From 1 January 2022, officials will work between 7.30am and 3.30pm on Monday to Thursday, and between 7.30am and noon on Fridays.

Between 1971 and 1999, the UAE had an official six-day working week with Friday given as a day off. Thursday was added to create a two-day weekend in 1999.

The UAE’s current work pattern, implemented in 2006, sees the weekend fall on Friday and Saturday.

Civil servants will have the flexibility to decide to work from home on Fridays, as well as to arrange their working hours on a flexible time basis.

Sermons and prayers across the UAE will be held from 1.15 pm on Fridays.

Tapp Luke

Luke Tapp

Partner

It will of course align the working week with global markets as well as creating a healthy work-life balance for employees within the public sector, but it will also have a significant impact from an economic, social and well-being perspective.

Government offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have confirmed that they will also adopt the new hours.

Under the changes, 2 January 2022 will be an official holiday in both cities.

No specific instructions or guidance was made relating to the private sector, but companies do not require the government's permission to set their working week and are likely to follow suit.

The federal government hopes the new working week will better align the UAE with global markets and boost work-life balance.

Luke Tapp, Middle East employment expert, said the announcement was an “incredibly positive and exciting development for the UAE”. 

“It will of course align the working week with global markets as well as creating a healthy work-life balance for employees within the public sector, but it will also have a significant impact from an economic, social and well-being perspective.”

“We recommend that private sector employers continue monitor announcements from the UAE authorities and consider whether and to what extent this type of change could be implemented within their organization in practice,” Tapp said.