Dubai: Many private sector workers have been given extra Eid Al Fitr holidays beyond the customary two days allocated to the private sector.
They will be enjoying a longer break, similar to the lengthier Eid break for government workers.
Eid holidays for the private sector have been announced by the Ministry of Labour as the first two days of the Islamic month of Shawwal. This is routine in the UAE.
Like other Islamic months, the first day of Shawwal is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon at the end of the previous month (Ramadan).
However, many private companies have added an extra day before and after these two days of Shawwal in a move to facilitate their staff and their families on the happy occasion of Eid.
Many firms told staff in advance that they would be given Thursday to Sunday, regardless of what day Eid (the first day of Shawwal)fal (Thursday or Friday).
Some have holidays until Monday.
A number of private sector workers were anxious about “losing” one or both days of their Eid break as the festival would partly or fully overlap their regular Friday-Saturday weekend – meaning they would only get one or no extra day off.
Those given the news of a longer Eid break had no such concerns.
“We are all such a happy bunch at work; we got Thursday to Sunday off. And there was no waiting until the last moment to see when it would be Eid and when it would be our break. We declared the break duration last week,” said an Indian advertising account manager.
“Most ad companies in the UAE have a similar long break; a few are off till Monday. It makes sense – a lot of the big clients are off this long and there’s no heavy workload over this stretch.”
Another expat professional, an Arab employee at General Electric, added: “This is great. My colleagues and I are glad to get a long weekend. This is a nice thing to get after a month of fasting and patience. Private sector workers should also be given extra days off, especially if Eid overlaps the weekend.”
At Spearhead, a soft skills training organisation, Muslim staff are off till Monday while non-Muslim staff are off till Sunday.
“It’s a win-win situation. Our staff have the choice of working longer hours and taking more days off. Similar arrangements are made when it’s time for other festivals like Christmas and Diwali,” said Michael Lorrigan, Spearhead’s managing director.
“Our productivity actually rises in Ramadan and a long weekend is a nice thing to have at the end of it.”
Government offices in the UAE will be closed from Wednesday, August 7, corresponding to Ramadan 29, and will reopen on the fourth day of the month of Shawwal in celebration of Eid Al Fitr.
Shawwal 4 falls on Sunday, August 11, if Eid begins on Thursday, August 8.
Government employees will resume work on Monday, August 12, if the start of the new lunar month of Shawwal is not confirmed by Ramadan 29 and subsequently Ramadan completes 30 days.