All change! UAE public holidays 2022: How the new Working Week affects your days off
As we head towards the middle of January, in an academic term that’s already had its fair share of pandemic-related drama, we wouldn’t blame you if you’ve started to wonder when the next UAE public holidays in 2022 will arrive…
With the UAE weekend change from Friday and Saturday, to Saturday and Sunday, the planned public holidays now coincide with the weekends in a slightly different way.
The UAE Cabinet announced the public holidays for 2021 and 2022 back in December 2020.
— UAE BARQ (@UAE_BARQ_EN) December 19, 2020
UAE public holidays are always subject to change (in some cases this due to their being dependent on moon sightings) so any calendar is never 100% certain.
Nevertheless, with the change to the new school and working week, we do expect an officially revised academic calendar to be released soon.
Here, however, is what we know so far about how the weekend change will affect the UAE public holidays in 2022…
UAE public holidays 2022
Ney Year’s Day: Saturday 1 January 2022
We have already enjoyed our first public holiday of 2022, which was the Gregorian calendar’s New Year’s Day, Saturday 1st January 2022. However, the weekend change meant that this became a three-day weekend; instead of returning to work or school on Sunday 2nd January, as originally planned, Sunday 2 January 2022 became the UAE’s first non-working Sunday in its history. UAE residents were able to benefit from the 2021 weekend of Friday 31 December, combined with the new weekend of Saturday and Sunday on the 1st and 2nd of January 2022, making the historic first long weekend of 2022.
Eid Al Fitr: From Monday May 2 2022*
The end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan is marked by the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, this observed with a multi-day holiday in the UAE for both the public and private sectors. In 2022, Eid Al Fitr is expected to fall around Monday May 2, according to official predictions by Ibrahim Al-Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences. Then the Eid holidays will be four days from Ramadan 29 until Shawwal 3, based on the Islamic calendar, according to government website U.ae.
This could mean a bumper long weekend: incorporating Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May of the regular weekend, in combination with the possible public holidays between Monday May 2nd and Thursday 5th of May.
However, as this is an Islamic holiday, the exact dates are subject to moon sightings. The number of days off could also change closer to the time – and they may differ between the private and public sector. We will share any updates as and when they emerge – but nothing in UAE holidays is ever simple!
Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha: From Friday July 8*
Arafat day and Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) are slated to be four days from 9 to 12 Dhu al Hijjah in the Islamic calendar, according to U.ae.
Arafat day is estimated to fall on Friday July 8th and Eid Al Adha will likely fall on Saturday July 9th in 2022.
The UAE weekend change gives us an extra day (or half day) off here; whereas Friday July 8 would have been part the weekend in 2021, in 2022 it looks likely to be a public holiday, and thus should make at least a three-day holiday when combined with the usual two-day weekend of Saturday and Sunday.
As these dates are subject to the moon sighting, they may change. It is possible that we may have a four-day long weekend from Friday 8 July to Monday 11 July 2022, but some sources predict an extra day until 13 July.
Hijiri New Year (Islamic New Year): Saturday 30 July
The next public holiday is set to be Islamic New Year on Saturday 30th July. As Saturday has always been a day off for most people in both 2021 and 2022, the UAE weekend change makes no difference to this; it falls on a day that most people would have had as a holiday anyway.
Whether the government decides to add an extra working day off as a public holiday remains to be seen, although this often does not happen and we certainly cannot bank on it.
Prophet Mohammed’s birthday: Saturday 8 October
The next public holiday again falls on a Saturday, which most people already have off as part of their weekend.
Commemoration Day and National Day: Thursday 1 December – Saturday 3 December
The final public holiday of 2022 once again coincides with the weekend, meaning that it’s possible that what would be a three-day public holiday only adds one and a half or two extra days to the regular weekend.
However, this still means we can probably look forward to a four-day weekend. Commemoration Day was previously known as Martyr’s Day and was observed on 30 November. Now known as Commemoration Day, it is marked on 1 December, which this year falls on a Thursday. Combined with the two-day National Day holiday on Friday 1 December and Saturday 3 December, this could mean four days off from Thursday 1 December to Sunday 4 December.
The UAE weekend change means more days off in this particular instance, as the public holiday links up nicely with the new Sunday off-day.
UAE public holidays 2022 at a glance
Saturday April 30th – Thursday May 5th: Eid Al Fitr*
Friday July 8th – Monday July 11th: Arafat day and Eid Al Adha*
Saturday 30th July: Hijri New Year (Islamic New Year)
Monday 8th October: Prophet Mohammed’s birthday
Thursday 1st December: Commemoration Day
Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December: National Day
*Exact dates may change with moon sightings, and number of days off are also subject to change.
UAE Weekend Change: The history of weekends in the UAE
Between 1971 and 1999, the UAE had an official six-day working week with Friday given as a day off.
1999-2006: Thursday and Friday
In 1999 Thursday was added to create a two-day weekend.
2006-2021: Friday and Saturday
As of 2006, weekends in the UAE fell on a Friday and Saturday.
2022: Saturday and Sunday
From 1 January 2022, the UAE’s public sector switched to a 4.5-day, Monday to Friday working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday as the weekend.
This move was done to better align the country with global markets, while the extra half-day weekend was introduced in an effort to promote work-life balance.
From 1 January 2022, UAE public-sector working hours are between 7.30am and 3.30pm on Monday to Thursday, and between 7.30am and noon on Fridays.
Government workers should have the flexibility to decide to work from home on Fridays, as well as to arrange their working hours on a flexible time basis.
Sermons and prayers across the UAE are now held from 1.15 pm on Fridays.
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