It was announced on Tuesday that the official workweek in the United Arab Emirates would be changed from Monday to Friday, a significant shift that puts the Islamic country, which is home to major financial institutions, into line with Western calendars.
Because of the decision, which is set to go into effect next month, the Gulf Arab state, which is home to the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will become one of just a handful of countries in the Middle East to run on Western hours rather than on a Sunday through Thursday working week.
According to the statement, government workers would work a half-day on Friday, which is a traditional Muslim holy day, and then would get the rest of the weekend free.
Private sector and schools are expected to follow suit, as they did in 2006 when the week was moved from Saturday to Wednesday, which corresponded to the Islamic workweek observed in several Muslim nations, such as Iran and Afghanistan, and was implemented by the government.
The move was lauded by the Emirati government as making it “the first nation in the world to implement a national working week that is shorter than the global five-day week” — a reference to Friday being merely a half-day workday in the country.