New UAE weekend: Private sector companies urged to 'readjust' employee working hours

Employers are also obliged to grant employees breaks for Friday prayers


Sherouk Zakaria

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Tue 7 Dec 2021, 5:17 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Dec 2021, 6:59 PM

The UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation has called on private firms to utilise the UAE’s new working week system in creating a healthy environment that boosts employee productivity and stimulates business growth.

Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview, Dr Abdul Rahman Al Awar said the private sector is urged to readjust employee weekly days off in a manner that fits the company activities and ensures competitiveness and success in the field.

He stressed that the new labour law announced recently, to be effective from February 2, 2022, provides private companies and businesses with the flexibility to determine the days off for employees. “The law has not specified the day off, enabling employers and employees to reach an agreement in accordance with the work contract,” said Dr. Al Awar.

Under the law, private sector employees are entitled to at least one day off per week. This can be increased at the discretion of the company or a cabinet resolution.

He added that private companies and firms have to fulfil their legal obligations towards employees and abide by the maximum working hours, weekly rest and annual leaves stated in work contracts. Employers are also obliged to grant employees breaks for Friday prayers.

He noted that the new working week system, which grants employees a 2.5-day weekend starting January 2022, applies to the government sector and therefore, "the private sector is not obliged to follow the same system. Private companies and businesses are governed by the new labour law, which grants them that flexibility,” noted Dr Al Awar.


The new labour law issued provisions to regulate temporary, part-time and flexible job models, in a bid to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the labour market.

Dr Al Awar said the new work week aligns the UAE’s workforce with international financial and economic markets. “It enables the private sector to carry out uninterrupted business transactions with companies based abroad.”

He added, “it also supports the interests of investors and entrepreneurs and boosts the employee productivity and performance across various economic sectors,” he said.

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