Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates has said all government entities will adopt a new working-week schedule that will consist of four and half days, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.
The move, announced by state news agency WAM on Tuesday, will come into effect on January 1, 2022, making the working week more in line with Western schedules. The UAE currently has a Friday-Saturday weekend, which corresponds to the same model other countries in the region follow.
The transition is “in line with the UAE’s vision to enhance its global competitiveness across economic and business sectors, and to keep pace with global developments”, the Abu Dhabi government media office said in a statement.
Under the new model, employees will have to complete an eight-hour workday from Monday to Thursday but are only expected to work only for 4.5 hours on Friday.
Government employees will also be allowed to choose “flexible work or work-from-home options” on Fridays.
Meanwhile, Friday sermons and prayers will be held at 1:15pm.
In predominantly Muslim countries, Friday is usually considered the holiest day of the week. In some of the neighbouring countries, shops and vendors are prohibited from opening before Friday prayers end.