New Year's Day a public holiday for UAE employees

The country will usher in 2020 with a midweek break for residents

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Wednesday, January 1, will be a public holiday, giving employees a midweek break.

The holiday, to mark the new year in the western calendar, is the first of at least 14 days off in 2020, according to a calendar approved by the UAE Cabinet.

Work will resume on Thursday, January 2.

The next public holiday will be in May, to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. It will either be four or five days, depending on how long the lunar month of Ramadan is.

If Ramadan is 30 days long, which some expect it will be, the holiday will be five days, from around Saturday, May 23, to Wednesday, May 27, – giving everyone a six-day weekend.

However, if the month is only 29 days-long, the holiday could end on Tuesday, May 26.

The remaining public holidays in 2020 will fall in the last six months of the year, with days off to mark Arafat Day, Eid Al Adha, Islamic New Year, the Prophet's Birthday, Commemoration Day and National Day.

Next year's theme, titled 2020: Towards the next 50, will be on preparations for the next five decades ahead of the country's milestone Golden Jubilee in 2021.

Officials will release plans, projects and new ideas during the year to help the country continue to prosper. Expo 2020 Dubai also takes place next year.

Last year the UAE Cabinet issued a decree unifying the number of holiday days between the public and private sectors.

Previously, people employed in the public sector enjoyed more days off than those working for private companies. The move was part of long-standing efforts to encourage Emiratis to move away from government jobs, where the vast majority of UAE citizens work.