Global Banks Set to Adopt Monday-Friday Workweek in the UAE
(Bloomberg) -- International banks operating in the United Arab Emirates are set to adopt a Monday-Friday workweek in the country from January, bringing their regional operations in line with the global standard.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of America Corp. and Societe Generale SA will switch to a Saturday-Sunday weekend in the UAE, according to people familiar with matter, following the Gulf nation’s decision to change its workweek.
The banks will offer employees some flexibility on Fridays and haven’t so far hinted at any imminent relocations, people familiar with matter said. Dubai is the region’s main business and financial hub, though most international banks have staff in Saudi Arabia to cover Sundays.
Schools and the public sector in the UAE will move to a 4 1/2-day week in the new year, with a half day on Friday -- a holy day in Islam. While that will align the UAE with global economies, it will break ranks with other Arab Gulf nations that have a Sunday-Thursday working week.
The UAE hasn’t said whether the private sector would have to adopt the new week, with the door being left open for companies to decide how to allocate resources. This could set firms up for a potentially tricky juggle between regional and global markets at a time when working practices worldwide have been transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.
A BofA memo said the bank welcomed the new workweek as it aligns the country with major economies. Employees requiring flexibility on Friday can discuss schedules with managers, according to a person who has seen the internal document.
JPMorgan will adopt the new working week starting Jan. 3, a spokesman said in response to a query from Bloomberg News. The U.S. bank will also allow an extended prayer break on Friday and other requirements on an individual basis.
At Deutsche Bank, employees who work on Sundays will be granted flexibility on Fridays, a person familiar with matter said. The shift is unlikely to have a major impact on SocGen, which doesn’t have trading desks in Dubai or Riyadh, according to two people who have seen a memo from the bank.
BofA and SocGen weren’t immediately available for comment. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
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