UAE Approves 4.5 Day Workweek for Employees

UAE Approves 4.5-Day Work Week for Employees

The United Arab Emirates has formally approved a 4.5 day work week, with all Federal Government offices working from Monday to Thursday, a half-day on Friday & off days on Saturday and Sunday.

Government offices will now function from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM from Monday to Thursday. On Friday, Federal Government offices are permitted to function from 7:30 AM to 12 noon. However, Federal Government employees will be permitted to work from home as well as follow a flexible schedule when it comes to their working hours.

Friday prayers and sermons will be held from 1:15 PM onwards.

With this, the United Arab Emirates becomes the first nation in the world to adopt a workweek that is less than the standard 5-day workweek. The changes will come into effect from 1st January, 2022.

This is not the first time that the workweek has been changed in the United Arab Emirates. Following its inception in 1971, a six-day work week was followed, with Friday being the weekend holiday. This continued for nearly three decades up to 1999, when a decision was made to have Thursday as an off day as well. This move formally transitioned the United Arab Emirates into having a five-day workweek, with Thursday and Friday making up the weekend.

In 2006, Thursday was made a full working day. In return, Saturday would be a holiday. This effectively meant that Friday and Saturday constituted the weekend, with schools and offices functioning full-time from Sunday to Thursday. The latest change adds Sunday to the weekend, while Friday has been made a half working day.

The move is meant to improve work-life balance for employees, as well as align the United Arab Emirates better to international markets. It is believed that employees will be able to take advantage of the added time off to upskill themselves, which would boost the efficiency of Government offices. Studies have also shown that a shorter workweek boosts productivity. Tourism is also expected to be a gainer with the longer weekend – employees will be able to plan their holidays better.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have announced that their Government offices too would follow the new schedule. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority has notified schools and universities of the change, asking them to revise their timetable. Classes on Friday are not permitted to be extended beyond 12 noon under any circumstances. Dubai Financial Market has also revised their trading hours accordingly – from 3rd January 2022 onwards, trading will be allowed from Monday to Friday.

Several private companies in the financial services sector have welcomed the move, as it is more in tune with global trade markets. Although it is not strictly binding on the private sector, it is believed that private companies that work with the Government will have to reschedule their own work hours to match that of Government offices. One HR professional believes that with more and more Emiratis entering the private sector workforce as a result of Emiratisation, all private sector establishments will have to follow suit.

A&A Associate LLC is a provider of legal and corporate services in the United Arab Emirates. To date, it has helped clients from 100 countries with business setup in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates. It has an excellent client satisfaction rate so far, and the aim is to do even better. For more details, please call +971 56 408 6728 or send us an enquiry using the form below.

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