The UAE has said that January 2 will be an official holiday next year, giving federal employees a three-day weekend to start the new year.
As of January 1, 2022, the weekend will fall on Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday, January 2 an official holiday for government workers.
It was announced as part of the weekend changes being brought in for next year.
Private company employees will also benefit from the long weekend, as long as their employer is also changing to the new work week.
January 1 remains an official holiday for both the private and the government sectors.
The next public holiday after January is a five-day break which will mark the end of Ramadan in 2022, most likely to fall on May 1, depending on which night the new crescent moon is sighted.
The decision to adapt the working week "will better align the Emirates with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map", the UAE Government Media Office said. The new long weekend will "boost productivity and improve work-life balance", it said.
The country's working week last changed in 2006, when the weekend was moved from Thursday-Friday to the current Friday-Saturday pattern. The move brought the Emirates in line with global markets at a time when the economy was growing rapidly.
The private sector, public and private schools shifted their working pattern on the same day in September 2006.
Between 1971 and 1999, the country had an official six-day working week, with only Friday as a government-mandated day off.
Thursday was added to create a two-day weekend in 1999.