The United Arab Emirates is transitioning to a 4.5-day work week for its government sector, thus becoming the first country in the world to have a working week shorter than five days. While Friday will be a half working day, Saturday and Sunday will be a holiday. Until now, the gulf nation gave offs on Fridays and Saturdays, which is followed in most Muslim countries.
State news agency WAM, which announced the news, said that 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.
The changes will come into effect from January 1. Working hours from Monday to Thursday will be 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and on Friday’s it will be 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friday prayers and sermons will start at 1:15 p.m., and WAM said government employees can make arrangements to work from home on Fridays or arrange their working hours on a flexible time basis.
News has it that the private sector, schools and colleges may also follow suit soon. Dubai’s education authorities said that the private education sector in Dubai will be open in line with the recent UAE Government decision on the working week.