People in the UAE enjoy a day out in the sun. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The announcement by the government to unify holidays of the private and the public sector will boost Emiratisation in the private sector and will improve the quality of living, business groups in the UAE told Gulf News. However, they also expressed concern about the loss of productive days and its impact on the rise in the cost of doing business in the UAE.

“The government is looking at increasing Emiratisation not only in the government sector, but also in the private sector. One of the barriers when it comes to working conditions is that the government sector is more attractive for the nationals as you have more holidays when compared to the private sector. With the new announcement, I expect more Emiratis to join the private companies,” said Padmanabha Acharya, president of the Indian Business and Professional Group. He also added that the new initiative will further improve quality of life and encourage people to spend more as they will have more time to spend outside the office.

“On the other hand, employers may have concerns due to additional holidays and to some extent it may affect productivity as some productive days will become holidays. I am sure every employer is looking at this and considering its implications in terms of how it affects them.

It was a long pending request from the private sector to align holidays for both the private and the government sectors and is followed everywhere in the world. The new development will send a positive message and will help Emiratis to join the private sector.

- Dr Syed Qaiser Anis, president of the Pakistan Business and Professional Council

Positive message

Dr Syed Qaiser Anis, president of the Pakistan Business and Professional Council also welcomed the latest decision of the government to unify holidays and said it will improve the quality of living, apart from attracting Emiratis to work in the private sector.

“It was a long pending request from the private sector to align holidays for both the private and the government sectors and is followed everywhere in the world. The new development will send a positive message and will help Emiratis to join the private sector.”

He also said the government should take measures to reduce the cost of doing business in the UAE like decreasing licensing fee and other related fees to compensate the loss of productive days due to holidays.

The new announcement on the unification of holidays comes as the government takes a number of steps to boost the growth of the private sector in recent times and attract more foreign direct investment into the country as low oil prices slows down the economy.

The government is looking at increasing Emiratisation not only in the government sector, but also in the private sector. One of the barriers when it comes to working conditions is that the government sector is more attractive for the nationals as you have more holidays when compared to the private sector. With the new announcement, I expect more Emiratis to join the private companies

- Padmanabha Acharya, president of the Indian Business and Professional Group

Apart from the new directives on reducing fees in various sectors, the government also issued debt law, investment law and bankruptcy law to attract more investment into the country recently.

Challenging environment

Reacting to the announcement, Frank Wouters, chairman of BeNeLux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) Business Council said: “First and foremost we understand and appreciate the initiative to make the private sector more attractive for Emiratis by harmonising the private and public sectors in this respect.”

“We also think that, as part of an overall package, this could work out cost-effectively when businesses no longer have to financially compensate for the holiday gap. However, overall this means that businesses will have higher costs and whether these can be absorbed in all sectors in the current challenging environment needs to be seen.”

Emiratis voice their approval for unified holidays for the private sector

It is such a great decision by the Council of Ministers. I am so happy. Very often when holidays were announced, I was not able to plan holidays and celebrate with family members, relatives and friends, because of the lack of parity in holidays between public and private sector. This move will also make the private sector more attractive for Emirati talents who will be able to join the sector’s businesses and contribute to the national economy.

- Mohammad Badr Al Marzouqi, University student

Of course, the new decision will encourage locals to work for private sector in the country. Lately mostly Emiratis wished to work for government sectors, but such reforms will equalise benefits for all. In fact, it is an appreciative measure which will provide an equal opportunity to all to socialise. My sister works in the private sector and I work in the government sector, but during holidays, we can’t enjoy festivities together due to the disparity in holidays. But it’s now most welcome.

- Khamees Al Zaabi, Government employee

Now Emiratis will find both the public and private sector equally attractive. Otherwise, mostly young Emiratis were more interested in government jobs. The decision will also make the lives of many families better. Members of some families may be working in both private and government sectors. Earlier it was difficult for them to plan holidays together. Now as they get the same holidays, they will be happier.

- Alla Al Bu Ainain, government employee