The United Arab Emirates government announced today it is switching to a Saturday-Sunday weekend.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, the UAE government’s weekend will consist of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, the Emirati Government Media Office tweeted.
The UAE currently follows the Islamic workweek in which Friday and Saturday are not workdays. Most Muslim majority countries adhere to this week because Friday is a prayer day in Islam. Israel also has a Friday-Saturday weekend because of the Jewish sabbath.
The UAE decision could make it easier to do business with the West as well as non-Muslim countries in Africa and Asia that likewise have a Saturday-Sunday weekend. It may also make the UAE a more attractive destination for international companies.
The half day on Friday will also make it easier for religious Muslims working in the Emiratis to continue worshipping in mosques that day.
Relatedly, four-day workweeks are the subject of considerable attention in the United States and Europe.