UAE new workweek: Is this the first weekend shift?

The UAE has shifted its weekends on three different occasions.

  
CEO giving peptalk to businesspeople at meeting in big conference room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

CEO giving peptalk to businesspeople at meeting in big conference room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The UAE’s newly announced Saturday-Sunday weekend is not the first change of its kind in the country’s history.

Since its inception, the UAE shifted its weekends on three different occasions:

- 1971-1999: Friday was the official weekend.

- 1999-2006: The UAE added Thursday to the weekend, adopting a two-day weekly holiday.

- 2006-2021: The weekend was shifted to Friday and Saturday.

- 2022: From January 2022, the UAE is transitioning the weekend to Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. The new system will be applied in government entities, schools and universities, but voluntary for the private sector to follow.

The 4.5-day working week, a first in the world to be implemented by a government, is expected to boost employee productivity and performance, enhance social wellbeing and align the UAE’s labour market with major world economies.

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