Manama: Saudi Arabia and Qatar have topped the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) list of Eid Al Fitr holidays with each country giving their public sector employees 12 days off.
The two countries are far ahead of the other four GCC member countries where the holidays will be either four or five days.
“All government employees are entitled to Eid holidays starting Ramadan 25 and ending on Shawwal 6,” the Saudi government said, referring to the ninth and tenth months on the 12-month Islamic lunar calendar it officially uses.
However, the private sector will have only four days, between Ramadan 29 and Shawwal 3.
In neighbouring Qatar, the Eid holidays will be 12 days after the Emiri Court said that public sector employees would not report to work between Tuesday, August 6 and Saturday, August 17.
However, financial institutions’ employees would have only three days off, the court said.
Private sector employees will enjoy up to four days off on the occasion.
Qataris are often pampered with long holidays that families regularly use to travel, especially in summer.
Public service employees in Bahrain have been given a five-day holiday to celebrate Eid Al Fitr, the feast that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
The traditional official holiday for the religious occasion is three days, but as two of the days, Friday and Saturday, are the country’s weekend, two days are given in lieu, allowing the more than 40,000 people working for the government to have a break that lasts five days.
The private sector is usually given two or three days off, depending on the business owners.
In Kuwait, the government said that the Eid holidays would be four or five days, depending on the start of the new month.
“If Eid Al Fitr starts on Thursday, the official holidays will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with employees back to work on Monday,” the government said. “However, if Eid starts on Friday, then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be off and government services resume on Tuesday, August 13.”
In Oman and the UAE, the public sector has been given four days off while the private sector employees will have only two days away from the workplace.
Economists in the GCC have often called for giving private sector employees more days off to make it more attractive to local job seekers often lured by the more appealing benefits, including higher job security level, offered by the public sector.