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UAE becomes one of few Middle East nations to change work week to Monday-Friday

Tourists are seen on a beach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The work week shift is expected to have a slight economic and tourist benefit. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI
1 of 3 | Tourists are seen on a beach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The work week shift is expected to have a slight economic and tourist benefit. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday formally announced that it's shifting its official work week from Sunday to Thursday to Monday to Friday, becoming one of the few Middle Eastern nations to do so.

The move also means that government employees will work a half-day on Fridays, which is the traditional Muslim holy day.

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"The changes to the working week system also include new official working hours. Public sector employees will be expected to work from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and until 12:00 p.m. on Fridays," the Dubai Media Office said in an announcement.

The work week change will take effect on Jan. 1.

A Muslim reads the Koran in Jumeriah mosque in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Most Middle Eastern nations work from Sunday to Thursday due to the Islamic holy day on Friday. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI

Officials said that government staffers will also have the flexibility to work from home on Fridays.

The UAE is the first country in the world to introduce a work week officially shorter than five days. The government cited a work-life balance, improved social well-being and a competitive economic edge as reasons for the change.

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The shift will also put the country on the same work week as the Western world, which is seen by many as having an economic and tourism benefit. Most Middle Eastern nations work from Sunday to Thursday due to the Islamic holy day on Friday.

Lebanon and Turkey also follow a Monday-Friday work week.

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