How will the new UAE work week affect your business?

The news of the new UAE work week, which could be termed the ‘Western work week’ may have financial repercussions and implications on a number of businesses; not only those already established there, but those looking to move, as well as those doing business with companies based in the United Arab Emirates.  

The UAE’s federal government has just announced that it plans to adopt a four-and-a-half-day week, with Saturday and Sunday being the ‘new’ weekend, as opposed to Friday and Saturday.  

In a tweet, the UAE Government Media Office said that all federal government departments will move to the new working week, bringing itself more in line with the rest of the world. The change will come in effect as from January 1, 2022.  

New Weekly Working Hours In UAE  

The working hours for federal / public employees will be from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm on weekdays, except on Fridays, when they will work for 4.5 hours until 12.00 pm, with sermons and prayers being held at 1.15 pm throughout the year. Employees will also be allowed to choose flexible work or work-from-home options on Friday.  

The United Arab Emirates government said that the longer weekend is aimed at boosting workers’ productivity and improving work-life balance.  

The Dubai government has also adopted this new work week.  

UAE Labour Law – Working Hours Per Week  

UAE recently introduced a new labour law which regulates numerous aspects of the work in the country’s private sector, including how working hours are calculated (maximum ordinary working hours to be eight working hours a day or 48 working hours a week) and how many hours employees can work before they are entitled to a break.  

No news on the new work week was given relating to the private sector as yet, but more details are expected shortly.  

From an economic point of view, the Monday to Friday work week will boost trading opportunities by aligning the United Arab Emirates with global markets, facilitating stronger international business links for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies with countries, financial institutions, stock markets and banks that follow a Saturday to Sunday weekend.  

Post-Covid, several businesses around the world have adapted their working practices to include more flexible times and remote working, amongst other measures. However, the UAE is the first country worldwide to introduce a working week which is shorter than the conventional five-day week.  

Located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, deVere Acuma provides trusted, independent financial advice to expatriates and international investors based in the UAE.


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