In a major announcement for the working population of the UAE, the Cabinet has decided to give an equal number of holidays to both the public and private sectors.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the Emirates News Agency (Wam) said that the UAE Cabinet has granted the private sector an equal number of holidays as it approved the public sector holidays for this year until 2020. The decree comes with an aim to achieve a balance between the two sectors and support the national economy.
Residents hailed the move, and many said the decision goes well with the Year of Tolerance theme for 2019.
French national Sarah Salatnia, who works as a senior human resources manager at a private firm, said: "It is such a refreshing news and reminds us again how much this country cares for us residents and tries to give us the same rights as its citizens. It was mainly during Eid holidays that we would feel the pinch when the government sector would get five days off and we would be stuck with three days.
"But this country has taken such a good decision, matching it timely with the Year of Tolerance and spreading cheer and happiness among all companies, all people."
For Indian national Fahad Siddiqui, a sales manager, this was the kind of news that he would celebrate by taking his family out, as that's what this decision will give him - more family time.
"This country never disappoints us and keeps popping these pleasant surprises that make us love it more and more. Giving us more holidays means giving us more time to invest in our health, family. I have young kids with whom I want to invest more time, for their well-being, education, personality development. Holidays are gifts for us."
Hailing the move, Kristine Landicho, a Filipina who works as commercial assistant, said: "This is a great move for the Year of Tolerance. Being a working mum, I will have more quality time to spend with my family and the community. As an expatriate, I will have more chance to visit my parents who are in the Philippines. Thank you, UAE!"
Interior designer Priya Verghese considered the announcement a relief as parents' holidays would now match those of their kids.
"Schools follow the public sector holidays, and parents working in the private sector had to find ways to keep their children entertained. Now if the holidays match, it can enable families to spend more time together."
Even expats whose families are not in the country have a reason to rejoice.
Banking sector executive Kavita Jawaharlal Dangrani, who hails from Mumbai, said: "For a single person like me, it is definitely great news as it is hard to get long leaves in our sector. I can now book my tickets in advance so that I can visit my parents in India and plan a good holiday with them. More than me, it is my parents back in India who are happy, praising the UAE for this decision. I am grateful to this country where I have resided for more than 10 years, and every year it is making it an experience to cherish for us residents by relaxing policies and making us feel at home."
'Move will encourage more emiratis to join companies in private sector'
It is good to equalise the holidays between the public and private sector as it reflects a healthy work-life-balance across the sectors, an Emirati, who did not wish to be named, said.
"Previously, only public sector firms were given long holidays and those in the private sector were given less. This was not healthy as many employees were leaving the private sector to join public sectors due to the less working hours and longer holidays. I wish the working hours in the private sector get reviewed, too, to ensure that there is an equilibrium between both sectors, which will result in less turnover rate from private to public, increase in the percentage of Emiratisation recruitment in the private sector, and encourage a work-life balance."
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