FAB and HSBC switch to new working week from January 3

Moves ties in with the government's ambition to better align the nation’s economy with global markets

First Abu Dhabi Bank's branches will stay open on Saturdays. Antonie Robertson / The National

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's biggest lender, and HSBC said they will be switching to the new Monday-to-Friday working week from January 3.

The change in work week was announced by the federal government earlier this month to align the UAE’s economy and its businesses with global markets.

FAB's branches will be open six days a week, including Saturdays, while its offices will adopt a five-day work week, the bank said in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, where its shares trade.

International financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale are also switching to a five-day working week, according to a Bloomberg report.

"The move supports the UAE leadership’s ambition to better align the nation’s economy with global markets and enable long-term growth opportunities ... which further demonstrates the UAE leadership’s commitment to driving economic opportunity and reinforces our position as a centre for international trade and commerce," FAB said.

London-based HSBC also said its branches will be open on Saturdays.

"Aligning our working days to global economies and global markets will open up a world of opportunity for our customers and for our business to grow, enabling us to fully capitalise on our time-zone advantage linking Asian and western markets," said Abdulfattah Sharaf, chief executive for the UAE and head of international at HSBC Bank Middle East.

Quote
Aligning our working days to global economies and global markets will open up a world of opportunity for our customers and for our business to grow
Abdulfattah Sharaf, chief executive for the UAE and head of international at HSBC Bank Middle East

The UAE federal government announced the shift on December 7, in which public-sector workers at the ministerial level will adopt a four-and-a-half-day working week, while Fridays will be a half day. Schools have also adopted the new routine.

Private companies are free to decide whether they will adopt the new work week, but a number of businesses have already committed to the switch. These include accounting consultancy Deloitte and Finance House, an Abu Dhabi-listed finance company, among others.

The UAE’s move to shift its weekend to Saturday and Sunday – the biggest overhaul of the Emirates' working week in decades – could result in greater integration of the local economy with global markets and boost its competitiveness by attracting more foreign direct investment into the country, according to analysts.

Updated: December 23rd 2021, 3:51 PM