Saudi Arabia to Shift Weekend to Friday Start
The Majlis Ashoura's endorsement of the Ministry of Civil Service's recommendation that Saudi Arabia shift its weekend to Friday-Saturday brings this important business priority a major step closer to reality.
Pending approval from the Council of Ministers, Saudi Arabia could soon join its GCC neighbors in establishing a Friday-Saturday weekend. Oman will officially shift its weekend beginning this May leaving only Saudi Arabia to make the transition.
The current Thursday-Friday weekend has long been considered a drag on the Saudi economy and the Ministry of Civil Service first proposed a change in 2007.
In January 2013, Ibraham Badawood wrote in the Saudi Gazette that,
“The changing of our weekend from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday is something a large segment of our society, particularly the business community, has demanded. Businesses are understandably upset with the current Thursday and Friday weekend as they lose four days every week in their dealings and transactions with international banks and companies.
In a recent symposium on the issue, businessmen were unanimous in their opinion that the national economy incurs huge losses that run into billions of riyals due to the weekend difference with the international community.
The Kingdom’s economy is linked with the world economy, especially since Saudi Arabia is a member of the G-20. A weekend change will also serve the interests of visiting foreign delegations and it will no doubt benefit local companies too.
Most of the calls and arguments made for the weekend change are purely economic in nature. However, a prominent scholar did go on the record to say there was nothing in the Shariah that prevented the change. The scholar said it was up to Muslims to decide what was in their best interests.”
"Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council recommended that the country shifts its weekend from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday, local media reported. The shift will align banking and business days with most other countries in the region. The Shoura Council, an advisory body that serves as a quasi-parliament whose members are appointed by the King, passed the recommendation to shift the weekend for civil servants after reviewing a report by the Ministry of Civil Service. According to al-Madina daily, 83 members voted for the recommendation while 41 members voted against it. The shift will require approval from the Council of Ministers before it gets implemented."
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