The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has recently made an important announcement that could revolutionize the way we work. Starting from July 1, 2023, some federal government employees will have the opportunity to switch to a four-day workweek, enjoying a three-day weekend. While this change currently only applies to government workers, it sets a significant precedent that may eventually extend to the private sector.
1. About the legislation
The UAE government has announced a four-day workweek and three-day weekend for some federal government employees, effective from July 1, 2023. Employees will need to apply for this.
2. Why does this legislation matter?
This is a big step in making a four-day workweek a regular legislation across the UAE not only for government workers but most likely, eventually for the private sector. By implementing this change, the UAE government is taking a progressive step towards improving work-life balance and employee well-being. It is likely to pave the way for further discussions on the adoption of similar legislation in the private sector. If successful, this transition could lead to a healthier and happier workforce across the country.
3. Who is impacted by the legislation/Who would care about the legislation?
In the immediate, the four-day working week is only available for some government employees. While private sector employees can apply for a similar status, there is no guarantee this legislation will formally extend beyond the public sector.
4. What does the impact of a four-day week look like?
Since this new legislation has only just been announced, and did not come into force until July 1st, we do not yet have a comprehensive picture of what the full impact will be. That said, given this is only limited for government employees across the whole UAE at this current time, there will need to be some change made for the rest of the working population still operating on the four-and-a-half-day week as they work to maintain the same output to achieve desired business outcomes. A similar legislation went into effect Jan 1st, 2022, in the If this success continues, the four-day work week has the potential to extend the same positive outcomes to all the UAE, potentially fostering a healthier and happier workforce who can enjoy more time with their families. While there is no assurance that the four-day workweek will extend to the UAE public sector, we do know that change is happening, and the question is whether your workforce is ready for the change.
5. What do industry specific use cases look like?
Although the full impact of the four-day workweek in the UAE is yet to be seen, it is clear that adjustments will need to be made to accommodate the change.
Currently staff have the option of five work patterns. They are:
- Work from the office – Either a designated place of work or at an organisation branch
- Work remotely from with the UAE – Perform all job duties outside of the office but inside the UAE
- Remote work outside the UAE – Employees can work outside the country and receive his/her salary in accordance with the law
- Intensive working hours – Complete the contracted number of hours in fewer working days. A UAE employee will work a maximum of 10 hours per day for four days
- Hybrid work – Mix of office work and remote work
6. How does the WorkForce Software solution help?
Workforce Software can help regulate and prepare organisations for any change in the employees working schedule. All can be supported by the WorkForce solution – features including shift offering, shift swapping, annualised hours, flexible optimised demand scheduling, the management of flexitime schemes and employees managing their own availability.
7. What are the challenges/penalties of doing nothing?
The challenge remains for government staff to continue producing the same output and service as working a full five-day working week. Overcoming those challenges will see a great ROI on employee happiness as stated earlier, with employees enjoying more time with family. Doing nothing is not an option in the UAE. All government entities must comply, and thus face the challenges of quickly overcoming these challenges will yield a significant return on investment, as employees enjoy more time with their families and experience increased happiness and engagement at work.
Non-compliance with the legislation is not an option, as all government entities are required to adhere to the new working arrangements. The UAE has broadly shifted to four-and-a-half-day workweek, with the state of Sharjah having taken this one step further and moved to a four-day workweek in both the public and private sector. Each of these shifts represents a ground-breaking development that highlights the importance of prioritizing employee well-being and work-life balance. Although the initial implementation of legislation in question is limited to government employees, the potential for broader adoption in the private sector is promising.
As organisations prepare for this transition, WorkForce Software offers a comprehensive solution to address compliance concerns and support effective workforce management. By embracing the four-day workweek, UAE organisations can create a thriving work environment that benefits both employees and the overall success of the business.
Every organisation has its own unique compliance concerns. The WorkForce Suite has you covered for every ever labour law or agreement, so that you can take the complexity out of compliance.