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There is nothing better than planning your next holiday. But there are a lot of moving parts to the perfect time away from work. The good news is that crafting your next vacation plans has now become easier in the UAE. The Government announced it will continue the unified holiday in the UAE for the private & public sectors, ensuring everyone gets to enjoy time off. 

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said the working systems of the public and private sectors will be unified. The decree came into effect earlier this year. These latest workweek changes in the public sector guarantee the two sectors have only minimal differences in terms of vacation time. 

So what does the unified holiday in the UAE look like? The below will outline the vacation and workweek changes, as well as list out the holiday periods to look forward to in 2023 

What Do Unified Holidays in the UAE Look Like Now?

The new system of unified holidays in the UAE streamlines the leave system. Both the public and private sectors will have a flexible framework to support employees. 

The Federal Decree-Law No. 47 for 2021 balances the differences in the public and private sectors with respect to leaves, holidays and working hours of Emiratis. The changes mean that:

  • Common working hours shouldn’t exceed 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week.
  • Employees should receive at least one day off per week.
  • Employees can only work a specified amount of overtime.
  • End-of-service gratuity employees shall be entitled to the pay of 21 days of the base salary for the first five years. This increases to a pay of 30 days per year for the following years.
  • Foreign workers who have worked full-time shall be paid end-of-service benefits with a wage of 21 days for the first five years and 30 days for each subsequent year.

The end-of-service benefits and opportunities are also streamlined for both the private and public sectors. 

Other workweek changes in the UAE public sector

The unified holiday in the UAE for the private & public sectors isn’t the only recent change to the region’s work system. The UAE also cut its official working week to four-and-a-half days. The region also moved its weekend to Saturday and Sunday from Friday and Saturday. 

The new public sector workweek will look like this:

  • Monday to Thursday has an 8-hour workday from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm. 
  • Friday will be a 4.5-hour workday starting from 7.30 am and ending at 12.00 pm.
  • Friday prayers will be held at 1.15 pm throughout the year. 

The changes are aimed at improving the region’s competitiveness. Reducing the workweek could be especially appealing to modern talent. Studies have shown employees are looking for flexible work arrangements across the globe. Attracting talent is much easier when employees don’t need to worry about losing out on vacation time if they choose to stay in the private sector. 

For businesses, it can also be easier to operate on a global scale with the new workweek changes. It aligns UAE businesses’ workweek with those operating in the West, Asia and Africa. Essentially, businesses don’t lose out on being shut down when the rest of the world is still working. 

The Comprehensive UAE Holiday List 2023

Aside from personal time-off, there are specific public holidays we all get to experience. The official list of unified holidays in the UAE for the private & public sector for 2023 include these dates:

  • New Year’s Day, January 1
  • Eid al Fitr: April 20, 21, 22 and 23
  • Arafat Day: June 27
  • Eid al Adha: June 28, 29, 30
  • Islamic New Year: July 19
  • The Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday: September 27
  • Commemoration Day: December 1
  • National Day: December 2, 3

Please remember that Islamic holidays are subject to the workings of the moon. The dates are decided with the following rules in mind:

  • Eid Al Fit: From the last day of the month of Ramadan to the 3 rd of Shawwal (4 days)
  • Arafah Day: 9th of Dhu Al Hijjah (1 day)
  • Eid Al Adha: 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhu Al Hijjah (3 days)
  • Hijri New Year: 1st of Muharram

So, if you are working in the private or public sector, and plan to take a trip to an exotic location or just take a break by exploring the local sights of the United Arab Emirates, you can now plan your vacations well in advance.

Make Vacation Time Smooth with Bayzat

payroll software for UAE

Introducing a unified holiday in the UAE for the private & public sectors can improve the harmony of the two sectors. It guarantees employees don’t view the public sector any more favorable – both workers will enjoy similar vacation rules. 

If your business is looking to navigate the new system, you can check out the Bayzat Payroll platform. It helps you manage leave requests, making sure there are no overlaps within the organization. You can also use it to automate payments – even if you’re on vacation! The best part is that we keep our software compliant. So even if there are changes to the workweek or the vacation period, you can rest assured your payroll stays compliant. 

Brian Habibi