As part of the UAE's 4.5-day workweek, public sector entities and schools have been operating for half day on Fridays, while most of the private firms announced a weekend shift to Saturday-Sunday, keeping Fridays as a full working day.
With the different timings of working parents, nurseries in Dubai operate full-time through the week from Monday to Friday.
May Zalat, Center Director at Blossom Nursery – Mudon Branch, said the nursery is open 8am to 5pm throughout the week to accommodate families with different schedules. Parents are given the flexibility to pick up their children after Friday prayers.
"Since we are aware that working hours on Fridays are different in the government and private sectors, we want to cater to all families by providing daycare for their children."
She added, "Parents working half day on Fridays are given the option to pick up their kids after their office hours and Friday prayers, while those in the private sector with full working days can keep their children until late afternoon."
Zalat noted that the nursery shifted to the Saturday-Sunday weekend to enable children to spend quality time with their families as most private companies are following the new workweek and the government. Teachers and staff work from 7:30am to 6:00pm to sanitize the classrooms and prepare a hygienic and socially-distanced facility for the children the next day.
Ensuring safety during Covid-19 is among the main reasons Gardenia Nursery in Barsha Heights operate full working hours from 7:00am to 6:00pm on Fridays and throughout the week.
The nursery's principal Rachwan Al Zaher, said, "Once parents can place their children in the nursery while at work, they do not have to rely on part-time nannies or daycare. Besides reducing the financial burden on parents and providing a convenient anxiety-free environment for children, it also helps ensure safety by decreasing the risk of the children's contact with people outside the nursery."
Al Zaher noted that the nursery's operating full-time during the week accommodates working parents at different professions.
"Majority of the private sector maintained the same work timings with only a shift to Saturday- Sunday weekend, which leaves parents working until 5:30pm on Fridays. Keeping the nursery's timings the same helped reduce the stress of parents and children."
Laura Barton-Toyne, principal of Kangaroo Kids nursery in Dubai, said working hours at the nursery had been kept the same from 7:30am to 5:30pm, with only the weekend shift to Saturday-Sunday, to support the community of working parents.
"We did not reduce the nursery's working hours to the half Friday, as implemented in schools, to provide the flexibility for parents to place their children at the timings they see fit," noted Barton-Toyne.
She added that parents are given the option to pick up their children after school and prayer timings on Fridays.
"Families have been appreciating this flexibility in light of the new workweek that has people working at different timings," she said.
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