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UAE minister urges private sector to adopt shorter work week, adjust benefits

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UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization, Abdulrahman al-Awar, urged on Tuesday private sector companies to adopt the new shorter work week to be implemented by the public sector at the beginning of 2022, and amend internal operations to ensure employees are guaranteed adjusted benefits.

The Gulf country changed the public sector’s work week to 4.5 days from Mondays to Thursdays, with Friday working hours starting from 7:30 AM and ending at 12:00 PM.

Saturdays and Sundays will become the new weekend, in line with global markets.

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The change will also apply to schools across the country and will be implemented on January 1, 2022.

“The decree law stipulates that workers are entitled to at least a paid, weekly rest day, to be specified in the employment contract or in the organization’s executive regulations, with the possibility of increasing the weekly rest day at the discretion of the employer, or by a cabinet resolution,” state news agency WAM reported.

Awar urged “private companies and establishments to maximize benefits from the new system by amending their internal rules and regulations in a way that will fit to their respective activities and at the same time, guarantee a supportive and balanced work environment to the employees,” according to WAM.

He also stressed the need for private business owners to “fulfil their legal commitments towards the employees by ensuring that maximum working hours are maintained and rest days, annual leaves are granted as per the employment contracts and that ample breaks are given to the employees to perform Friday prayer.”

The question still remains about whether private companies will change their work weeks to better adapt to the new system, especially given most companies have to work with a government entity in one form or another.

It also raises questions for the private sector employees who will question the number of hours they work starting next year.

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