Most people choose to spend their holidays locally
Some UAE workers avoid long annual leave to travel abroad, opting instead for shorter vacations to spend locally, fearing being stuck abroad due to constantly changing travel restrictions.
The hiring and HR industry says employees are increasingly choosing to spend their vacation leave locally, as some companies have asked their employees to exhaust their annual leave. But some workers have still accumulated quite a few annual vacations as they have been unable to travel abroad for the past two pandemic years.
“With new regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the UAE and many countries imposing strict restrictions and lockdowns, workers are now rethinking their leave plans to avoid getting stuck,” said Mayank Patel, country head of Adecco Middle East.
He pointed out that there may be no change in employees’ annual leave policies for the time being, as the spike in cases also pushes back to the previous days to ensure the safety of colleagues and work from home. However, in the interest of the organization and to ensure the work-life balance of the employees, this may mean that part of their leave has to be adjusted.
Waleed Anwar, director of Upfront HR, suggested that it is wise for most people at this point to stay in the UAE to avoid getting stuck abroad. “This is the general opinion we hear from our customers in the UAE. Traveling carries the risk of getting stranded. In most cases, unless you have a customer-facing role, most companies will provide employees with the flexibility to work remotely to allow for a continuous workflow wherever they are.”
Vijay Gandhi, Regional Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Korn Ferry, believes that if the last 18 months have revolutionized the way many people work, the coming years will bring an even greater revolution in working practices in the UAE.
“Location neutral jobs lead to more flexibility. More offices will change design to accommodate this flexibility based on work and team demand. We will continue to see creative and different work ideas emerge and fit into the new work environment,” he added.
The change in the working week in the UAE will also put a positive spin on the work-from-home culture, according to Gandhi. “Individuals are not rewarded by 9-5 or Monday-Friday parameters, but linked to the results they achieve on a regular basis. In general, the work environment will undergo a significant change, with remote working becoming the norm.”
Spending annual leave on site
Waleed Anwar added that now more than ever, workers in the UAE are spending more leaves locally due to restrictions on travel worldwide. “Because they are afraid of being stranded abroad and not being able to return, the leaves are definitely shorter and change from the traditional long summer leaves that we are used to in this country.”
In the past two years of the pandemic, some workers have accrued annual leave because they were unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, while some workers have no year left at all because employers encouraged them to take time off during the lockdowns, he added. ready.
From January 1, 2022, the UAE government has shifted the weekend from Friday-Saturday to mid-Friday to Sunday to help local businesses and also improve the work-life balance of residents.
“Changing weekends should not change how many vacation days people are entitled to, because under the UAE Labor Code, workers are entitled to 30 days of leave after completing one year of employment, of which 22 days are working days – which will remain the same with the change over the weekend,” Anwar said.
Human-intensive businesses can change annual leaves
The hiring and HR industry says companies operating in the people-intensive sectors, such as tourism, retail and hospitality, are likely to recruit more people with the change over the weekend. Such companies can also change employees’ annual leave due to the Covid-19 pandemic and structure it in such a way that it helps them meet their targets and also benefits the employees.
“This new work week will certainly bring about changes in many sectors, such as F&B and hospitality, to agree on brunch and dinner offers, Friday special offers, etc. They might also consider hiring additional staff during the new weekend, leading to to new revenue opportunities in this sector,” said Patel.