The UAE is moving its weekend to Saturday and Sunday as it seeks to attract more investment and foreign workers by aligning practices with those in the West.
Officials said the weekend would now start on Friday afternoon, breaking with the regional standard of a Sunday-Thursday work week.
It comes as the Gulf state seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy and attract $ 150 billion (£ 113 billion) in overseas investment over the next nine years.
The UAE government said the reforms “will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries following a Saturday-Sunday weekend, thereby facilitating the strengthening of international trade ties and opportunities for thousands of people. multinational and UAE-based companies ”.
The state government presented plans to liberalize its residency rules in September, with the aim of increasing the number of skilled workers coming to the country. Its plans include the creation of new visa categories for the self-employed and entrepreneurs.
Residency in the UAE has been linked to employment for decades, meaning that a wave of expats typically leave the state during an economic downturn.
Mohammed Ali Yasin of Abu Dhabi Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based fund manager, said the financial sector would benefit the most from the reforms, as well as the tourism industry: “It could be a good experience for other countries of the region”.
This is the latest attempt by UAE officials to prepare the Gulf state for a post-oil future.
The UAE has said it will allow flexible working and working from home on Fridays, which is typically a day off in predominantly Muslim countries.
Authorities will enforce the new weekend for the public sector on January 1. According to The National newspaper, the school system is expected to adopt the same routine and the private sector is expected to follow suit in the near future.
The move is the latest in a series of major reforms in the conservative, oil-rich Gulf state designed to attract more investment and align it with global markets. It also relaxes the rules for alcohol consumption and cohabitation before marriage.
In November, the UAE also announced that it would no longer jail those who bring certain cannabis products into the country as part of plans to ease tough drug laws.
The new law states that visitors bringing food, drink and other items containing cannabis into the UAE will no longer be jailed for a first offense. Instead, the authorities will confiscate and destroy the products.
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This notice was published: 2021-12-07 18:08:06