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UAE Eid Holidays 2024 private sector: Why might it not be a full week off? All you need to know
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UAE Eid Holidays 2024 private sector: Why might it not be a full week off? All you need to know

by Tabitha BardaApril 1, 2024

The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) in the UAE has today officially announced the UAE Eid holidays 2024 for employees working in the private sector.

Beginning on Monday, April 8 in the Gregorian calendar (which coincides with the 29th day of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar) and running until the 3rd day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar (which could coincide with either Thursday 11 or Friday 12 April in the Gregorian calendar), private-sector employees will receive paid leave that could amount to either four or five days:

Ramadan is the name for the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, and it is considered the holiest time of year, when Muslims fast during the daylight hours.

Shawwal is the name of the 10th month of the Islamic calendar, which immediately follows the month of Ramadan.

Eid-Al-Fitr is the name of the three-day religious festival (which translates to ‘Holiday of Breaking the Fast’) that marks the end of Ramadan, and which starts on the first day of the new month of Shawwal.

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If the first day of Eid-Al-Fitr is declared on Tuesday 9 April, then private-sector offices will remain closed until Thursday, with work resuming on Friday 12 April.

But if the first day of Eid-Al-Fitr is declared on Wednesday 10 April, the holiday for the private sector extends until Friday, with work not resuming until Monday 15 April for those who enjoy the traditional two-day Saturday and Sunday weekend.

This means that parents who work in the private sector might be required to return to work on Friday 12th April, depending on when Eid begins.

Private sector holiday from 29 Ramadan – 3 Shawwal
Day Islamic calendar date Gregorian calendar date Public holiday for private sector?
Monday 29th  Ramadan 8th April Yes
Tuesday 30th Ramadan OR 1st  Shawwal* 9th April Yes
Wednesday 1st or 2nd  Shawwal* 10th April Yes
Thursday 3rd or 4th Shawwal* 11th April Yes
Friday 4th or 5th Shawwal* 12th April Maybe*
*Dependent on moon sighting

Are the Eid holidays the same for private and public workers?

Contrary to some media reports, it is not yet guaranteed that all private and public sector workers get the same amount of time off. Although this is possible, it is not necessarily the case in 2024, due to differences in the wording in the respective government announcements…

The public sector has been explicitly mandated a full week off, regardless of when the month of Ramadan ends, from Monday 8th April to Sunday 14th April.

Eid holiday dates confirmed for schools and families across Dubai and the UAE

In contrast, the announcement for the private sector from the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) is that the holiday will run from 29 Ramadan (8th April) until 3 Shawwal in the Islamic calendar (or “what it is equivalent to in the Gregorian calendar”).

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, and the start of each month is determined by the moon sighting, the ways these dates coincide with the Gregorian calendar is not yet confirmed…

The month of Ramadan could be either 29 or 30 days long, depending on whether the new crescent moon (which signals the new month of Shawwal) is sighted on the night of Monday 8 April (which would mean four days off for the private sector) or the night of Tuesday 9 April (which would mean five days off for the private sector). This will be confirmed by the official UAE Moon Sighting Committee closer to the time.

Traditionally public sector workers have been awarded more holidays than their private sector counterparts – but in 2019 – 2020, the UAE Cabinet for the first time issued a decree that both sectors should receive an identical number of public holidays. In 2019 – 20, The UAE Cabinet argued that change was needed for both “balance” and to power up the UAE economy.

“The decision [to equalise holidays between the public and private sectors] aims at achieving a balance between the two sectors and supporting the national economy.”

However, whether the public and private holiday dates align for Eid Al Fitr this year is subject to the moon sighting, since the announcements of the awarded holidays are worded quite differently.

Nevertheless, according to official predictions, it looks hopeful that private-sector employees will also receive the full week.

The end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid Al Fitr holiday is currently expected to fall on Wednesday 10 April, according to the latest predictions. This would mean that Ramadan is 30 days long, and thus the private-sector holiday would encompass a full five-day working week.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Astronomy Society is quoted by official UAE government media sources as stating:

“Islamic consensus is expected that the first day of the month of Shawwal and Eid Al Fitr shall be on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

“The birth of Shawwal crescent will coincide with the occurrence of a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024; its birth before midnight will mean that it can be seen after sunset the next day in most parts of the Islamic world.”

Of course, the HR departments of private-sector companies have full discretion to choose to assign Friday 12 April as a holiday regardless, in order to allay the uncertainty for their workers, but this has not been mandated by the UAE Government.

Read more about the Emirates Astronomy Society and Eid Al Fitr here.

Read about UAE school holidays here. 

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared.com. Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and Parents United's WHICHPlaydates - a regular meeting place for UAE parents to discuss the issues that matter to them, make friends and network with others. You can often find Tabitha too on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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