The United Arab Emirates will be one of the few Mideast countries with a workweek that includes Friday. Friday will be a half-day for government workers.

The UAE will reduce its workweek to 4.5 days

The United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday that its official workweek will move to Monday to Friday.

Friday will be a half-day for government workers, who will also take Saturday and Sunday off.

This move makes the United Arab Emirates one of the few places in the Middle East and the only Gulf state with a workweek that includes Friday.

Previously the Emirati workweek had been from Sunday to Thursday.

The decision will come into effect next month.

Private industry and schools will likely follow suit and adopt the new workweek.

In Islam, Friday is the day of prayer

In 2006, the UAE changed its workweek from Saturday to Wednesday, a system still followed in some Muslim-majority countries such as Iran and Afghanistan.

In Islam, Friday is the day of prayer, known in Arabic as jumu’ah. Prayers and sermons are held in mosques after noon.

What is the reason for the change?
A UAE government statement said that the extended weekend comes as part of UAE efforts to boost work-life balance.

This is a major change for the global financial hub

The statement hailed the move, saying that the “UAE is the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week.”

This is a major change for the global financial hub, as it will allow businesses in the UAE’s financial district to work Western hours when they had previously been closed.

“The new working week will better align the UAE with global markets,” the government statement said. “It will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend.”

sdi/rc (dpa, AFP, AP)

By Auther