A Workweek Aligned with the West

A Workweek Aligned with the West

Have you ever dreamed of a four-and-a-half-day workweek? It is no longer wishful thinking in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Last week, the Emirati authorities announced that all government institutions would align their workweek with the Western standards. While, like the other countries in the Gulf region, Friday and Saturday previously formed the weekend days, - the new weekend will start on Friday afternoon and end on Sunday evening.

According to a statement from the Abu Dhabi government, this change is justified by the Emirati will to "enhance its global competitiveness across economic and business sectors, and to keep pace with global developments.

While government employees will be required to work eight hours a day from Monday to Thursday, with flexible arrangements and teleworking options available to all, they will be able to only work four and a half hours on Friday, thereby allowing them to attend the traditional Friday prayers. 

According to WAM, the Emirates news agency, this change will likely increase employees’ wellbeing by enabling a better work-life balance, while it is also expected to help boost national productivity, ultimately further enhancing economic competitiveness.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE has adopted a series of measures to boost its economic attractiveness to foreign investors and young talents. This new measure is yet another step in a broader modernisation plan.

By adopting a workweek aligned with European and Asian standards, the UAE hopes to attract more investment, especially in companies targeting international markets. Although this change only affects public institutions, the private and the education sectors are expected to follow suit.

The change will take effect on January 1, 2022.