Over the past decade, the leadership and government of the UAE has laid out a clear and comprehensive plan to ensure the continued economic growth and progress of this nation. It is a framework that has been carefully put together, a plan that envisages the diversification of the national economy.

Clearly, the continued progress of this nation reflected in its sustained growth, improved productivity and impressive economic data all point to that policy being a success. And the fundamental and key element of this strategy is the emiratisation of the national economy. Citizens of this nation are becoming involved and earning their livelihoods in these new burgeoning sectors of the economy. Traditionally, Emiratis favoured jobs in government or governmental organisations — and one of the reasons for those choices rested simply on the higher number of holidays enjoyed by the sector compared to private sector. While holiday allowances were not the only reason for career choices, it was a practical factor, particular for those with children and spouses also in the government sector.

For workers in the private sector, there were fewer days off, less time to share with families and the need to work on major holidays. Simply put, the imbalance was unfair, impractical and was a hindrance to the desired outcome of the policies of emiratisation.

Now, following a Cabinet decree issued on Tuesday, the differences between public and private sector holidays are being removed — all employees will have the same time off. The aim of the decree is to achieve a balance between the two sectors and to support the national economy.

Certainly, this timely and welcome decree now removes one of the last barriers in the government’s stated goal of emiratisation, providing for a level playing field for those who decide to opt for the challenges of creating and growing new commercial, manufacturing and trading enterprises over work in the government sector.

For those working in the private sector, the unification of holidays has long been a bugbear that has slightly rankled those who worked while others enjoyed leisure. Now, the source of disquiet has been removed, with all in the national economy on an equal footing and set to enjoy the same leisure time. When it comes to holidays on Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha, the National Day celebrations, all will have the same time off to enjoy with family, friends and colleagues. And that’s a good day’s work.