4.5 days: UAE announces shortest work week in the world

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Dec 07, 2021, 02:19 PM(IST)

A general view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 12, 2021. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the world to implement a national work week that is shorter than the worldwide five-day week.

The UAE government will implement a new four-and-a-half-day work week on January 1, 2022 as part of the government’s efforts to boost work-life balance and enhance social wellbeing.

The change will affect federal government institutions and will be accompanied by new working hours, with Monday to Thursday workdays beginning at 7:30 a.m. and finishing at 3:30 p.m., and Friday work hours beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 12:00 pm.

Along with the change, Friday sermons and prayers will begin at 1:15 pm across the UAE.

Government employees will have the option of working from home on Fridays and scheduling their work hours on a flexi-time basis.

The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the world to implement a national work week that is shorter than the worldwide five-day week.

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The longer weekend is part of the UAE government's attempts to improve work-life balance and social well-being while also improving performance in order to promote the UAE's economic competitiveness. 

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The UAE will be able to adapt quickly to new developments and improve worker welfare by using an agile working approach.

The new working week will better connect the UAE with global markets from an economic standpoint, reflecting the country's strategic position on the global economic map.

It would facilitate greater international business relations and possibilities for thousands of UAE-based and global enterprises by ensuring easy financial, commercial, and economic activities with nations that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend. 

The Indian expatriate community in the United Arab Emirates is estimated to number 3.42 million people, accounting for around 30% of the country's population.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has around 15% of the diaspora, while the other six northern Emirates, including Dubai, have the rest. 

35-hour workweek in France

In the rest of the world, France is notable for having a 35-hour work week , which is four days and three hours, that has been codified in law since 2000.

However, there is a catch.35 hours is "only a threshold at which overtime or rest days start to kick in," according to a BBC article. 

Even French blue-collar workers put in over 35 hours every week.

According to government figures, 50% of full-time employees in France worked paid overtime in 2010.

According to French economist Jean-Marie Perbost, that percentage was projected to be higher in 2013.

In 2008, 44 percent of attorneys in France worked more than 55 hours per week, according to the country's national bar association (CNB).

(With inputs from agencies)

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