Dubai: UAE announced on Tuesday that it will transition to a four-and-a half-day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday forming the new weekend. All Federal government departments will move to the new weekend from January 1, 2022.
The authorities added that with this move, the UAE has become the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week.
The working week will start on Monday and end by Friday afternoon. The working hours for federal employees are set to be from 7.30am to 3.30pm, with 8.5 working hours per day. On Friday, employees will work for 4.5 hours.
On Fridays, employees will also be allowed to choose flexible work or work-from-home options. The longer weekend is aimed at boosting productivity and improving work-life balance.
The announcement also said that Friday sermons and prayers would be held after 1.15pm across the UAE all year long.
From an economic perspective, the new working week is set to better align the country 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 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, on social and family ties and on the overall wellbeing of people in the UAE.