New UAE weekend and working hours in 2022: All your questions answered

The revised work week for govt departments comes into effect from January 1, 2022.


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Tue 7 Dec 2021, 1:33 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 2:44 PM

The UAE has revised its workweek timings after 15 years, with government staff entitled to get two-and-a-half days off every week. The revised workweek comes into effect from January 1, 2022.

This means that employees would be working on Fridays till 12pm. The Friday sermons and prayers have been pushed to after 1.15pm, which will help Muslim employees offer them in congregation after work.

They will then get the rest of the Friday off, in addition to Saturday and Sunday.

Here are all your questions answered.

What is the new working week in the UAE?

The UAE will transition to a four-and-a-half-day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend for government employees.

What is the new work schedule?

8 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, and 4.5 hours on Friday.

Working hours are Monday to Thursday from 7.30am to 3.30pm.

Working hours on Friday are from 7.30am to 12pm.

How long is the new weekend?

The weekend is extended to 2.5 days— to be Saturday-Sunday and half of Friday.

Is the UAE the first Arab and Muslim country to set Friday as an official working day?

Majority of the countries around the world follow the Saturday-Sunday weekend, including Arab and Muslim nations such as Morocco, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia.


What will happen to official holidays that fall on Fridays in 2022?

Official holidays in 2022 will be reviewed and adjusted if needed.

Does working on Fridays violate the Sharia law?

There is no rule or text in the Islamic Sharia that sets a specific holiday.

Official working hours on Friday end before prayer time.

Is this the first time that the UAE has revised its working week?

No, the UAE has revised its weekends on three occasions:

1971-1999: Friday was the official weekend.

1999-2006: UAE added Thursday to the weekend.

2006-2021: Country shifted the weekend to Friday and Saturday.

What are the expected outcomes of the new workweek?

  1. Enabling employees to strike a better work-life balance and venture into new projects, studies or travel on longer weekends.
  2. Facilitating business in full alignment with global markets and banks.
  3. Boosting the UAE’s ranking in the global competitiveness indices.
  4. Increasing productivity and enhancing government performance.

Do government entities have the flexibility to apply the new working week?

Government entities will have the option to apply flexible working hours and work-from-home mechanisms on Fridays.

Does the new system apply to schools and universities?

Yes, schools and universities across the UAE will follow the new workweek. The Ministry of Education will announce the new school timings.

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