x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Public sector employees in UAE to receive nine-day Eid holiday

Government workers will receive a five-day holiday. With weekends, this will total nine days off. Private sector workers are expected to take two days off.

Residents plan to spend time with friends and family during the extended Eid Al Fitr holidays next week. Parks and public places across the country are expected to be full. Silvia Razgova / The National
Residents plan to spend time with friends and family during the extended Eid Al Fitr holidays next week. Parks and public places across the country are expected to be full. Silvia Razgova / The National

Government employees received welcome news on Sunday when it was announced they will receive five days holiday for Eid Al Fitr, which, with weekends tagged on either side, will give them nine consecutive days off work.

The Eid holiday will begin on Sunday, July 27 with the final day being Thursday, July 31. Taking in the weekends before and after, public workers will be able to plan for a nice long break.

Private sector workers will not enjoy the same break time, however. They will be given just the two first days of Eid off, thought to be Monday, July 28 and Tuesday July 29.

Based on the directives of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, the announcement was made by Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, chairman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources.

And workers are already planning their trips.

“I’m trying to book a trip for my family; nine days can be a nice travel holiday,” said Jasem Abdulla, a 35-year-old Emirati father of three who works for the government. “I think a lot of people have the same idea, I hope there is still time to book flights to somewhere nice, maybe Istanbul.”

Amer Ahli, who works in a government department, has been in touch with travel agents to book a trip away, and is prepared to go further afield to avoid the crowds of Eid holidaymakers.

“Turkey, London, Paris, and Munich are the targets for most travellers, which is why I’m trying to avoid these areas and go to Spain, Italy, Portugal, or even New York if I can get an early enough flight.”

For some, however, the time off work does not mean exotic holidays when there’s jobs to be done at home.

“We will be spending the holiday moving to a new house,” said Fatima Al Madani, an Emirati whose family is moving into a newly completed home in Al Barsha.

“I have nothing, I have to do a lot of shopping, buy basic kitchen items and things like bed sheets and tedious things like that. We also have to clean the house before we move our stuff in.”

The mother of two said she will be taking advantage of her husband having time off so he can help with the move. “My husband works in Abu Dhabi, he gets back from work very late and would normally be too tired for me to ask him to help with the move, so this is the perfect time for it.”

Although private sector employees were not certain of their exact holiday dates many were still making plans for time away.

Paul Winfield, 32, from the UK, who works as a financial adviser, said he was hoping the private sector holidays would fall closer to the weekend.

“We were planning for a long weekend away,” he said. “Probably a city break, maybe to Copenhagen. But it would depend on how long it will be.

“But if it’s in the middle of the week, it won’t be worth going away. We could probably book somewhere in Ras Al Khaimah or Fujairah, but I imagine it will be fairly busy here and the rooms will start booking up already.”

Juan Carlos, 35, from the US, who works in the oil and gas industry, said not knowing the exact dates, even less than two weeks away, meant it was difficult to plan.

“I understand why it is this way, but it would still be easier if these holidays were scheduled,” he said. “The flight prices go up and if you want to stay in the UAE, it becomes very hard to find a hotel.

“Last year we just stayed home, met up with some friends and had a barbecue. It was the cheapest option.”

malkhan@thenational.ae

mcroucher@thenational.ae