Weekend shift 'would place Qatar in line with global business practices'
Doha: Qatar authorities are studying whether to change the weekend to Saturday and Sunday, instead of Friday-Saturday, an official said here yesterday.
By adjusting the weekend to the international working week, gas-rich Qatar would become more consistent with international business practices and optimise its working week, the official told Gulf News.
"A study is under way to move the weekend to Saturday and Sunday, however it is not clear if and when a decision in this regard will be taken," the official at the Planning Council said.
"We conducted a survey to evaluate the response of the public to the proposal. Many nationals are sceptical about the move and fear it could affect family and religious customs."
The official could not elaborate further on the survey. The Gulf country, whose booming economy relies on huge natural gas reserves, has its major commercial partners in the Far East, the United States and Europe.
The current Friday-Saturday weekend results in reducing the weekly working days available to deal with international companies to four, the official said.
However, nationals expressed mixed feelings about the possibility of having a weekend change.
Asked to comment on the issue, Sultan Al Hashimi, Professor of Sharia at Qatar University, told the local daily Peninsula recently that Islamic scholars were asked to officially state that Friday is a weekend-day at a conference attended by foreign ministers from Islamic nations in 1998. He said he did not consider possible any change in this regard.
Jamal Faiz, Director of Cultural Activities at the General Youth Authority, said he would object to the weekend change only if the Islamic teachings were preventing it.
"If there is anything in the Islamic teachings that prevents authorities from changing the weekend, then I will refuse it. However, if there is no reason for prevention, then I believe that we must further the discussion, and review the positive and negative effects of such a change," he said.
"However we could have to overcome religious and social implications."
A Qatar-based American Muslim said in its web blog that he and other Muslims living in the country were against the proposal.
"Friday is not only the time we have Friday prayers [which is religiously dictated] but also a very important time for visiting family and friends in a relaxed fashion."
Published: 09/15/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)
By Barbara Bibbo', Correspondent
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This won't happen,qatari authorities are wise and they won't try to upset the religious people.
I believe that it will change. The size of the economy and the money that is being lost will force the change. Right now everything is great with oil over $60 USD per barrel but if it keep dropping the other parts of the local economy will be a worry and that is because they have to deal with the rest of the world. You can't have a 4 day week in a world wide market, just like you no longer can have 8 to 5 work day. Around the world, business now runs, 24/7, the world's business does not shut down, they may run 3 shifts and they may work odd hours but most businesses are open.
I do not mind when the 2 day break is, as long as I get 2 days off a week at the same time as everyone else. :)
a tall order to ask, i suppose :)
This is unlikely to happen. For religious reasons. They may shift it to be Thurs and Sat as in some Middle East countries but Friday will always be a day off.
For lots of places the weekend is two days off. Many, many people in the west work on Sat AND Sun and are off another two days. Yes it used to be religion based but that has passed into many things happening 7 days a week. I see people working here on Friday so it is not a total religious day off.
And yes, it has everything to do with business
The purpose of Saturday and Sunday is to give the people from each respective religious group their Sabbaths off from work. This is prescribed by each religion Saturday for Jewish/Christians and Sunday for Christians.
The majority in most European countries and America.
As my grandmother used to say work six days and rest on Sunday. You better believe if you tried to do some work on Sunday you heard about it. Ahh growing up Muslim around Southern Baptists :-) "yall are going to hell" can only be said so many times before it becomes comical.
I would like to think if America and European Union decided lets change the weekend to Thursday and Friday to match the Oil Producing nations. Would the Jewish and Christian majority in their countries go for it? The answer would be no no no and as we say hxll no.
It has nothing to do with business.
Act your age not your shoe size
I know that this has been going on for the past couple of years and rumor had it that during the beginning of this year the Govt. wanted to see peoples reaction before implementing a weekend change.
I hope they do something concrete and implements what-ever change in both the Govt. and Private sector.
Right now, the place where I work, we officially work half day on Thur' (but are still working more than 8 hours) and find there is no work on Saturday's (most companies are closed), however, we have no choice, we have to sit at our desk.
This has been floated in the past couple of years and got nowhere.
We've had a Saturday Sunday weekend in Lebanon for as long as I can remember.
People get time off for Friday prayers and life goes on.