Official holidays and non-business days in the UAE. Ramadan 2023

Company registration
In this article:
There are many public holidays and non-business days in the UAE. It is important to take them into account when registering a company as the process may be delayed due to government agencies being closed. Also, some holidays affect the employment relationship with employees. Ramadan, for example.
Non-business days in 2023
The calendar of public holidays is approved by the UAE authorities. The dates for 2023 were approved by the UAE Cabinet on 27 November 2022:

  • New Year: 1 January.
  • Uraza Bayram: 20−23 April.
  • Araf Day: 27 June.
  • Eid al-Adha: 28−30 June.
  • Islamic New Year: 21 July.
  • Prophet Muhammad’s birthday: 29 September.
  • National Day: 2 and 3 December.
What are the behaviour rules to watch out for during Ramadan?
Ramadan in 2023 will take place from 22 March to 21 April (dates may be refined). This should be taken into account in everyday life as well as in work.
In the domestic sphere

The UAE Government strongly recommends observing decency and refraining from eating (including chewing gum), drinking and smoking in public places during Ramadan, i.e. from sunrise and sunset, due to the fact that locals are fasting and can only consume food and water in the morning before sunrise and the evening after sunset. It is considered bad form to refuse gifts or invitations to an evening meal (Iftar).
In the labour field

Working hours are reduced by two hours, even for non-Muslims, with no reduction in pay. It is permitted to increase the working hours per day subject to compensation (+25% of pay), but not by more than two hours per day and not by more than 144 hours in three business weeks.

However, an increase in hours without compensation is allowed for the following employees:
  • employees in managerial positions;
  • employees in the technical field whose activities support the continuity of work, when performing shift duties, provided that the total working time per week is not more than 56 hours.
Force majeure events
Non-business days can also be declared due to the occurrence of unforeseen circumstances. For example, in May 2022, Sheikh Khalifa died. At that time, a 3-day work stoppage in all sectors and a 4-day mourning period were announced.
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