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Directives Issued to Reduce Work Hours for Employees in the UAE During Ramadan Season

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Rintu Raju

Published on March 16, 2024, 11:57:51


UAE, ramadan, working hours, private sector, publiuc sector,

As the Holy Month of Ramadan commenced on March 11, 2024, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued directives to reduce working hours for both public and private sector employees to honor this sacred period.

These changes are mandated by regulatory authorities such as the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) and the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE), and governed by relevant legislation. They aim to accommodate the religious practices of fasting Muslims.

Public Sector

In accordance with directives issued by the FAHR, ministries and federal entities have implemented revised working hours during Ramadan.

Official working hours are set from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm from Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, traditionally a day of communal worship, working hours are further adjusted to 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, with exceptions made for roles requiring extended coverage.

These adjustments enable ministries and federal entities to adopt flexible working arrangements, ensuring compliance with daily working hour requirements while accommodating individual needs.

Private Sector

Private sector employers are required to reduce regular working hours by two hours throughout Ramadan, as prescribed by Cabinet Resolution No. (1) of 2022 and Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021.

This legal framework ensures that employees have sufficient time for rest and sustenance during the fasting period. Additionally, employees who exceed stipulated working hours during Ramadan are entitled to overtime compensation in accordance with UAE Labour Law provisions.


While the overarching principle mandates reduced working hours, exemptions exist for workplaces operating fewer than six hours regularly during the non-Ramadan period.

Similarly, entities with established policies prescribing shorter hours on Fridays may maintain their customary schedules, provided they comply with regulatory standards and uphold employees' rights.

Such flexibility underscores the UAE's commitment to accommodating diverse workplace practices while upholding legal standards and respecting religious observances.

Navigating the intricacies of adjusted working hours during Ramadan requires both public and private sector entities to adhere to regulatory guidelines and protect employees' rights.

By fostering an environment of compliance and understanding, organisations can meet their legal obligations while demonstrating respect for the cultural and religious diversity inherent in the UAE's workforce.

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