70% of federal government staff to work in office under new Friday rules

Exemptions for home working will be granted on a case by case basis, federal HR authority says

The new working week and weekend means changes for many government departments and private sector employers. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
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Seventy per cent of federal government employees should be in offices under the UAE's new Friday working rules.

The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources set out staff protocols on the eve of the country's first Friday work day in a circular.

The UAE government switched to a Monday-to-Friday working week at the start of the year.

Friday will be a half day for federal employees, who will work from 7.30am until noon.

Departments must co-ordinate with the authority to determine which employees and job titles are eligible for remote working.

In partnership with FAHR, the employee's line manager must issue an approval for remote working.

The authority said that at least 70 per cent of employees were required at headquarters to "ensure the continuity of providing public services", Wam reported.

The statement further said that priority for the allocation of remote work would be given to those who live farthest from their place of work, while the decision will also take into consideration "any other humanitarian circumstances of employees".

UAE government sets out 4.5-day working week

UAE government sets out 4.5-day working week

The move to a new working week was made to "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".

Public and private schools have also switched to a new Monday-Friday model.

Friday prayers across the UAE will begin at 1.15pm to accommodate the new working week. Typically, Friday prayers begin at dhuhr – between noon and 12.30pm – dependent on the season.

To allow government workers time to attend Friday prayers at a mosque, the dhuhr prayer time has been moved forward about an hour, with the sermon beginning at 1.15pm. Friday prayers are led with the sermon in the mosque, followed by Jumaa prayers.

Friday prayers are considered the most important of the week, and Muslims are encouraged to pray at a mosque in a group.

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Updated: January 06, 2022, 10:34 AM