DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is slashing its working week to four-and-a-half days and moving its weekend from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday, officials said.
The “national working week” will be mandatory for government bodies from January 2022, and is aimed at improving work-life balance and economic competitiveness, state media said on Tuesday.
“The UAE is the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week,” official news agency WAM reported.
The UAE will become the only Gulf country with a Saturday-Sunday weekend, a move that brings it into line with most of the non-Arab world. The weekend will start at noon on Fridays, the day of prayer in Muslim countries.
“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.