by Expo Events Consulting Expo Events Consulting

UAE school week to change in line with new weekend | Friday prayers moved permanently to 1.15pm

Federal government departments in the UAE are to change their working week from January 1, 2022, with much of the country expected to follow suit.

Public sector workers at the ministerial level will adopt a four and a half day working week, with employees working Monday to Thursday. There will be a half day on Fridays.

Saturday and Sunday will be the new weekend for government workers.

The Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments said their employees would adopt the same hours. The National understands all schools will move to the same working week on the first day of term, with hours expected to be announced soon.

The decision “will better align the Emirates with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map”, the UAE Government Media Office said.

The new long weekend will “boost productivity and improve work-life balance”.

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.

Speaking to The National, Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said private sector employers would not be told to fall in line with the new working week.

“Private sector companies are smart and they have been operating in a very competitive market … they will make their decision based on what they feel will improve their position,” he said.

“This decision will allow the UAE economy to be more competitive.

“It will eliminate the weekend gap – and it was much longer gap in the past. It will allow more business and exchange of trade with the world economy.”

Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation
It will be for companies to decide whether they want to give employees a shorter working week.

“They can choose to have the shorter working hours if that’s company’s wish, but they cannot exceed [the 48-hour working week maximum],” Dr Al Awar added.

Public holidays that were set out recently for 2022 will not change, officials said. In fact, the public will get an extra day’s holiday on January 2, 2022, which falls on a Sunday.

Nabil Alyousuf, chief executive officer of Dubai-based International Advisory Group, said the decision will benefit the business community over time.

“This will increase the number of days we do business with the rest of the world, which will boost trade,” he said.