From January 1st 2022, the United Arab Emirates will align with the weekly calendar adopted internationally, which provides that weekends shall fall on Saturday and Sunday. Thus far (and until the end of this year), the Emirates, like other Arab countries, follow the Muslim calendar system. In accordance with the Muslim system, the day of rest is Friday, as it is the day of prayer.
However, a need for renewal has arisen with a view to facilitate trade and services, as due to non-alignment with other jurisdictions, service providers and citizens have had to organize their activities in relation to holidays established in the country where they operate.
Despite the radical change, the need to ensure time for prayer on Fridays, in line with Muslim tradition, will remain, as the authorities considered it appropriate to maintain Friday afternoon as a time of rest. Thus, the United Arab Emirates is the first region in the world to introduce a working week shorter than five days.
The change is certainly significant, because it has a substantial impact on the lives of citizens as well as business. Certainly, it is a valid proof of the commitment promoted by the Emirates to improve the relationship between work and personal life, in a country where there is a high quality and quantity of leisure opportunities.
The amendment will enter into force at the beginning of the new year. Furthermore, not only would it be relevant for the UAE, but also for all those who live in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. These countries, in fact, also shared the political choice of the Emirates and expressed the intention to also be aligned with the international calendar to facilitate trade.
We, D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel, continue to monitor the novelties introduced in the United Arab Emirates. Here, in Dubai, we have a local office to support you at every stage. If it is your intention to invest in this country or to enter into business relations with UAE partners, do not hesitate to contact us, at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or requests of assistance.