New UAE weekend: Call for similar work hours, 4.5-day week in private sector

Federal government departments in the country moved to a four-and-a-half-day working week from January 1


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 12:50 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 12:34 AM

A member of the Federal National Council (FNC) has proposed uniform weekly working hours and weekends for Emiratis working in government and private sectors. This proposal comes after the country has officially begun the new workweek.

Sabreen Hassan Al Yamahi, said she would ask the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, to request the government to extend the two-and-a-half-day weekend granted to government employees to citizens who work in the private sector firms so they get equal benefits.

Federal government departments in the UAE moved to a four-and-a-half-day working week from January 1, 2022. Friday half-day, Saturday and Sunday had formed the new weekend in the country, aligning it with global markets.

"It is a good thing that citizens working for the private sector be treated in the same manner like their colleagues working in government departments," said Al Yamahi.

"Under the new UAE weekend system, Emiratis working for the private sector should also be granted four-and-a-half-day working week and two-and-a-half-day weekend."

The FNC member noted that her proposal aligns with what the UAE leadership seeks to achieve, including; stability and job satisfaction for UAE nationals working in the private sector.

"The government also seeks to achieve maximum equality in job privileges and benefits between the public and private sector, especially in light of the comparisons between the two sectors, which graduates are accustomed to," Al Yamahi said in the Emaratalyoum report.

She noted that, "When the government, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the second batch of plans under the UAE's 'Projects of the 50', its goal was to increase the number of Emiratis in the private sector jobs, consolidate a competitive, balanced and active national economy.

The 'Projects of the 50' included grants for students and fresh graduates to take up private sector roles, a billion dirham graduate business development fund, a government-backed new private-sector child allowance, unemployment benefits as well as career break and early retirement schemes for federal government employees starting new businesses.


"The projects were aimed at enhancing the UAE's regional and global position across all sectors, raising human competitiveness, and ensuring a decent life for its people and the future generations," said Al Yamahi.

"From this standpoint, the government has opened new horizons for citizens to engage in the private sector with an unprecedented financial and employment support package."

She noted that the development packages focused on enhancing the percentage of citizens and raising their number in private sector firms, increasing the experiences of young citizens, and developing their skills and abilities to work in this sector.

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