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United Arab Emirates introduce four and a half day working week


The Emirates are the first country in the world to move away from the five-day work week. The country also adapts to the western weekend rhythm - unlike all of its neighboring countries.

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Road Workers in the Emirates: Do They Get Weekends on Saturday and Sunday?

Photo: Kamran Jebreili / AP

First the United Arab Emirates staged itself as a place of longing for influencers, now the country is daring a more western style outside of the city of Dubai - in terms of working hours and weekly rhythm.

Specifically, the country is cutting the working week by half a day to four and a half days a week.

The weekend is also to be postponed from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday, as the state news agency WAM reported.

Previously, in the Muslim Gulf state, there was a working week from Sunday to Thursday.

The new working hours will be mandatory for government institutions from January and are intended to improve the balance between work and private life as well as the country's economic competitiveness, according to WAM.

And: "The United Arab Emirates are the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week of less than the usual five-day week." The new regulation therefore also applies to schools.

Companies can set their own business hours

The Emirates will become the first Gulf state with a weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

The long weekend should then begin on Friday noon so that Muslims can perceive the Friday prayer.

The move will bring the Emirates "better in line with global markets and reflect the country's status on the global economic map."

With the postponement of the weekend, the Emirates are further distancing themselves from other countries in the region, including neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the government broke a decade-old consensus of the Arab states and relaxed relations with Israel.

In this way, trade normalized as well.

According to the chief economist of the consulting firm Oxford Economics Middle East, Scott Livermore, private companies can decide for themselves which working week they base their business hours on.

However, Livermore thinks it is likely that they will orientate themselves towards the public sector and thus towards the new four and a half day week and the new weekend.

Higher productivity through shorter working hours?

The realignment of working hours to the models common in Europe and Asia will "help internationally oriented companies that are an important pillar of the economy and could attract investment," said Livermore of the AFP news agency. At the same time, a shorter working week could also lead to higher costs. However, there is also evidence that a shorter working week increases productivity in the working population.

A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion in May that weekly working hours of 55 hours or more are associated with a significantly higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

According to the study, the number of deaths from heart disease associated with long hours rose by 42 percent between 2000 and 2016.

In many countries, 35 to 40 hours a week is the norm.

But especially in Southeast Asia and the West Pacific, it is often significantly higher, according to the study.

apr / AFP

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-07

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