The UAE has come up with a historic move with respect to its week off policy. The country is planning to move towards a four-and-a half-day working week from the beginning of next year, instead of the current 5 days working week. As per the new policy, employees in UAE government sector can now enjoy an additional half day leave along with the two days week-off.
Along with Saturday and Sunday full-day off, a half day on Friday will also be granted to employees. The working hours from Monday-Thursday will be from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm and on Friday it will be from 7.30 am-12 pm. Government employees are also provided with the option to work from home on Fridays.
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”.
UAE becomes the first country to adopt a 2.5-day week off on a national level and the initiative looks quite promising. It will not just boost the morale of employees, but also provide UAE with the opportunity to align more closely with global markets.
The government hasn’t given any instructions to the private sector to follow suit and as such the decision is left to the private sector companies. According to official statements “the private sector is not obliged to follow the same system. Private companies and businesses are governed by the new labour law, which grants them that flexibility,”
There is a possibility of other countries in the Mideast region embracing the 4.5 working days policy. When UAE moved its weekend from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday in 2006, Saudi Arabia along with various other countries in the Gulf also adopted the same, gradually.
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