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New working week in the UAE: what changes for the private sector?


From January 1st, 2022, the UAE will switch to a 4 and a half days working week. The weekend will transit to Saturdays and Sundays, while Fridays will be the half-day working day. Sharjah is the only exception: The Emirate will have a three-days weekend.

If, on the one hand these rules will suddenly apply to the public sector, on the other hand the government still did not give any hint on how the private sector will have to behave. As of today, the private sector can still decide whether to switch to the Saturday-Sunday weekend or not. Many private companies have already declared that they will change their working hours in order to get in line with the public sector, others will decide what to do in the upcoming days.

As for Fridays which – as mentioned – will be working days for a half only, the government still has to officially decide. That notwithstanding, from February 2022, the new Federal Decree Law no (33) of 2021 will enter into force. Art. 31 of the Law says that “A worker shall be granted at least one paid weekly rest day […] The weekly rest day stipulated herein may be increased by decision of the Cabinet”. The same idea is expressed by Art.7 (2) of the Federal Decree Law (47) of 2021 which applies to the private sector too. The article says that “The employees shall have at least one rest day a week. Such number may be increased by law”. The number of rest days a week can therefore be implemented “by law” which is defined as “The law regulating the human resources in the federal government sector or the labour relations in the private sector in the UAE”.


Source: Khaleej Times