A Comprehensive Overview of Ramadan 2024 Working Hours in the UAE

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, marked by fasting, prayer, reflection and community. It commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a time to strengthen one’s faith. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), with Islam as the official religion, places great importance on Ramadan.

With the commencement of Ramadan 2024 announced for March 11th, working hours across the UAE’s public and private sectors are set to be reduced to accommodate the religious obligations and spirit of the holy month. Understanding these adjusted working hours is key for employees, employers and educational institutions to plan accordingly.

Definition of Ramadan and its Significance

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and involves abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. The fast is intended to increase self-discipline, humility and gratitude to God.

Apart from fasting, Ramadan emphasizes heightened spirituality through increased prayer, charity and recitation of the Quran. It culminates in Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration marking the end of the holy month. For Muslims, Ramadan carries profound religious and social significance as a time for spiritual renewal and strengthening community ties.

Overview of the Importance of Understanding Working Hours During Ramadan

Adjusted working hours are implemented across the UAE’s public and private sectors as well as schools during Ramadan to accommodate the religious duties and community spirit integral to observing the holy month.

For employees, comprehending these revised working hours allows for better planning regarding commuting, childcare arrangements and productivity expectations amid shorter workdays. Employers can prepare for continuity of operations and customer service despite reduced hours.

Working Hours for Public Sector During Ramadan 2024

According to the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR), public sector employees in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates will observe a significantly reduced work schedule during Ramadan 2024.

Specifically, working hours will be from 9:00am to 2:30pm, Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays, a half-day will be observed. This constitutes a reduction of two hours from the regular 9:00am to 3:30pm Sunday-Thursday schedule and three hours from the regular 9:00am to 12:00pm Friday shift.

The adjusted hours aim to provide sufficient rest for employees fasting while ensuring continuity of government services amid increased religious obligations and social gatherings during the holy month.

Breakdown of Specific Working Hour Changes for Various Public Institutions

While FAHR has announced standard revised working hours for the public sector, specific government entities have issued further changes to be implemented during Ramadan 2024.

For example, up to 70% of staff across federal agencies will be permitted to work remotely on Fridays. Meanwhile, the emirate of Umm Al Quwain has declared a four-day work week for public sector employees, with Fridays off entirely.

Individual public institutions are still defining operational capacity and customer service availability within the broad FAHR parameters. Employees are advised to confirm with their organization’s human resources department regarding precise working hours during Ramadan.

Working Hours for Private Sector During Ramadan 2024

Unlike the defined, standardized hours set for the public sector, private sector working hours during Ramadan are regulated on a broader scale by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

MOHRE has mandated a two-hour reduction in the regular eight-hour workday for the holy month. This allows private companies flexibility to tailor schedules based on operational requirements, while ensuring adequate rest for fasting employees.

Some companies are opting for earlier start times and others for shortened days. Many split the reduced hours across the workweek rather than on a daily basis. Employees are encouraged to consult their organization’s internal Ramadan circular for specific private sector working hours.

Comparison of Working Hour Policies Between Public and Private Sectors

FAHR has imposed clear, defined working hours for all public sector employees based on a standard schedule across government entities. In contrast, MOHRE has instituted a broader two-hour daily reduction in working hours for the private sector, enabling companies to tailor schedules to business requirements.

Additionally, public sector employees enjoy a full half-day on Fridays, whereas Friday reductions in the private sector depend on the specific company’s internal circular. Both policies, however, aim to strike a balance between operational efficiency and employee wellbeing during Ramadan.

Working Hours for Schools During Ramadan 2024

School hours across the UAE will also be reduced to accommodate Ramadan religious and community traditions. The key change involves capping the school day at five hours, compared to the regular six to seven hours.

Specifically, classes will run from approximately 8:00am to 1:00pm from Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays, schools will conclude before 12:00pm in alignment with public sector hours. Some variation can be expected between individual school districts and education authorities.

Shorter school days aim to balance students’ learning requirements with the physical demands of fasting and late-night social gatherings that are characteristic of the holy month.

Impact of Ramadan on Educational Institutions and Students

The reduced school hours allow fasting students to conserve energy and focus better while they are in class. It also enables them to participate more fully in iftar meals to break the fast and special Ramadan prayers.

For administrators, reshuffling school schedules facilitates events like communal iftars and Quran recitation sessions. However, planning is required to minimize curriculum disruption amid compacted academic days.


Ramadan 2024 working hours for the public sector, private sector and schools entail significant reductions to accommodate increased religious obligations. By defining these changes across various institutions, employees, employers and families can effectively plan for continuity of operations, childcare logistics and communal activities during the holy month. While specific working hours differ between government entities, companies and school districts, the overarching aim is to ease the burden on fasting individuals. This allows them to devote greater energy to spiritual contemplation and community engagement intrinsic to Ramadan. As the UAE emphasizes the importance of family and social harmony alongside productivity, adjusted working hours reinforce these values amid a period of profound religious significance. With comprehensible policies set across public and private sectors, the anticipated disruption to daily life is minimized. Overall, the annual modifications to Ramadan working hours exemplify the UAE’s broader efforts to balance modernization with preserving cultural and religious tradition.

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