The United Arab Emirates will switch its weekend to Saturday and Sunday for government entities as it looks to bring itself more in line with the rest of the world.
The government said it will adopt a 4-1/2 day working week, with Friday — a holy day in Islam — being a half day, from Jan. 1. The UAE and the rest of the Gulf Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, currently have a Sunday-Thursday working week. There were no further details on how the plan will affect the country’s private sector.
The Gulf nation, of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are a part, has taken several steps recently to open up its economy, including selling stakes in state-controlled companies. The stock markets have also rolled out initiatives to boost liquidity and attract foreign investors.
“This will align the UAE with global markets and make it easier for international corporations to do business,” said Nabil Alyousuf, chief executive officer of Dubai-based International Advisory Group. “This will increase the number of days we do business with the rest of the world, which will boost trade.”