Three-day weekend: Saudi Arabia considering shorter work weeks

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Saudi Arabia is reviewing the possibility of implementing a three-day weekend to shorten the work week, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said, according to local media reports.

In response to an inquiry on social media, the ministry’s Twitter support account said that it is currently studying the work system and reviewing the possibility of extending the weekend from two days to three days.

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The possible change is being reviewed as part of the ministry’s periodic assessment in which experts will analyze ways to increase job creation and improve the attractiveness of the job market for local and international investments.

A draft of a shorter work week has also been sent out through the country’s survey platform for public consultation, the ministry added.

If implemented, Saudi Arabia would be the second Arab country to implement shorter work weeks after the United Arab Emirates.

On January 1, 2022, the UAE introduced a shorter week and moved its weekend from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday. Under the new reforms, the working hours for public sector employees and schools are only until noon on Fridays.

In the UAE’s Sharjah, employees get a three-day weekend that includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

A little over a year after the implementation of a four-day work week in Sharjah, a government study found that there was a 90 percent rise in the job performance, happiness, and mental health of employees.

Among employees who worked shorter weeks, the study found a 90 percent increase in job satisfaction with 84 percent of respondents saying the new reforms helped them achieve a work-life balance.

The move to reduce the work week has been hailed globally as the future of work-life balance and increased productivity.

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