Ramadan 2023: Reduced working hours expected for UAE employees
Employees across the United Arab Emirates can expect shorter working days soon with the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on or around March 23.
“The normal working hours will be reduced by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Labor Law says.
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During the holy month, Muslims all over the world fast daily for 29 or 30 days, based on the lunar calendar and the sighting of the moon.
Those fasting abstain from consuming any food or drinks, including water, from fajr (dawn) prayer time, which is slightly before sunrise till sunset.
The reduced hours rule applies to all employees, regardless of their religion or if they are fasting or not.
Any employer who fails to follow this law can be fined.
School days are also reduced during the month.
While the precise start of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr will be confirmed closer to the time by the moon-sighting committee, Ramadan might begin on March 23 with the last day expected to fall on April 20. This would make the first day of Eid al-Fitr on April 21.
That means holiday is expected to be commemorated with a four-day weekend in the UAE, which would fall on April 21, 22, 23 and 24.
On the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, UAE residents will fast a little over 13 hours according to the prayer timings published on the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment website.
Fajr (dawn) prayers which mark the start of the fast, at 5:02 a.m. and Maghrib prayers (sunset) at 6:35 p.m., making the total fasting time 13 hours, 33 minutes.
By the end of the month, the fasting hours will slightly increase to 14 hours 16 minutes as Fajr prayers will be at 4:31 a.m. and Maghreb at 6:47 p.m.
The start of Ramadan changes every year based on the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 lunar months totaling either 354 or 355 days. This causes the fasting month to move up to 10 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar.
Public holidays in the UAE
After Eid al-Fitr there are officially five more occasions when UAE residents will be given one or more days off during the rest of 2023.
Next up is Arafat Day, the second day of the week-long Hajj pilgrimage, set to take place in June, followed by Eid al-Adha, set to fall on the last weekend of June between June 28 and June 30.
The next public holiday will mark the Islamic New Year on July 21, followed by Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, with a public holiday on September 29.
The holiday for the UAE’s 52nd National Day falls on December 2 and 3.
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