Should UAE private sector employees get shorter work hours during first school week?

UAE, federal government employees, flexible hours, shorter hours, children

Dubai - The aim is to ensure that employees can be part of their child's school activities.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Tue 27 Aug 2019, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Aug 2019, 9:01 PM

With federal government employees getting flexible hours during the first week of the new school year, parents in the private sector are urging the authorities concerned to give them shorter hours, too, to ensure a smooth transition for their kids.
Earlier this week, it was announced that federal government staff can get up to three hours off work per day in the first week of September. They can either report late for work so that they can escort their kids to school or leave early to pick them up. The aim is to ensure that employees can be part of their child's school activities.
"I personally think shorter working hours in the beginning of the school year not only helps the children, but also parents adjust the timings of their daily routine," said Shazia Siddique, who works as a teacher in a private school in Dubai. "It gives parents enough time to prepare and manage other important new things that come along with a new academic year like uniforms, books and transportation.
"Many parents go for a long vacation during the summer and their late arrival gives them no time to prepare for the next academic year."
Ahmed Tolba, a Kiwi expat in Dubai, said if he had shorter working hours for the first week of school, he could drive his kids to school. "It's really a good thing to have shorter working hours at the start because it'll allow me to spend more time with the kids and there are other activities we can do, such as drive them to sporting events and competitions and watch them participate. We parents miss out on family events. This is something very healthy for an employee's mental levels as it'll help them be more productive at work."
'It's a win-win suggestion'
A human resources solutions company's head has urged firms to give shorter working hours to parents as "it's a win-win for all parties involved". "I think giving federal employees' shorter working hours is a great initiative and I believe all parents can benefit from this," said Preetham Nathan, CEO of Nathan & Nathan Human Resources Solutions. "Companies always benefit from employees who are at peace, happy and content at the workplace. And when a parent is feeling relaxed knowing that their child is well-settled in school, they will be more focused at work. Also, the short working hours is just for the first week - not for the whole year."

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