UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: New Monday-Friday Afternoon Work Week to Debut 1 January 2022

December 16, 2021

In an effort both to support work-life balance for employees and further align the country with the global economy, the UAE will make the following changes to the country’s public sector work week:

  • Working days will be Monday-Friday afternoon.
  • Standard working hours for public sector employees will be from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm on Monday through Thursday and 7:30 am – noon on Fridays.

These changes will come into effect on 1 January 2022.

Background of the Change

Working hours for federal government and private sectors have been unified under new general provisions announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization on 13 December 2021.

Starting from 2 February 2022, federal government and private sector employees can work for a maximum of eight hours a day, 48 hours a week, with compensation for working overtime. The law also regulates working times and the hours when work is prohibited. In both sectors, employees are entitled at least one paid day off, which can be increased at the company’s discretion.

While the UAE announced a new 4.5-day workweek to be applied in the federal government, the UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, stressed that the new labor law grants private companies the flexibility to choose the off days for employees.

Emirate of Sharjah Announces Own Three Day Weekend

The emirate of Sharjah is switching to a four-day work system with a three-day weekend, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The decision was approved by the Sharjah Executive Council in line with the directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Newland Chase Insights

UAE business leaders have heralded the upcoming change and the country’s alignment with much of the global market. Sponsoring employers and foreign nationals in the UAE should make note of the upcoming changes and adjust accordingly.

Finally, it is important to note that this change will only be implemented in the UAE. While other Gulf nations who observe a Sunday-Thursday work week may follow suit at some point, no similar announcements have been made at the time of this writing.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Case for any case- or company-specific assessments.