The United Arab Emirates is mulling imposing a two-day weekend on the private sector as well as paying government supplements in a bid to lure Emiratis away from the attractive public sector, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The National, quoting UAE Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash, said the government was considering ways to make the private sector, currently dominated by foreign workers, more attractive to Emiratis.
The report said that of the four million employed in the private sector, only 20,000 are Emiratis, and of whom 65 percent work in the banking sector.
Ghobash said the government was considering a guaranteed two-day weekend for the private sector in line with the public sector as well as offering government supplements for Emirati salaries in the private sector. In return, he said, the working day would increase by one hour to nine hours.
"We are now at crossroads," Ghobash said, "and we need educated and informed discussions so we can make the right decision. We are waiting to hear what the people have to say."
He said government jobs tend to be more attractive with higher salaries, shorter work days, longer holidays and better job security.
"No doubt there is a huge gap between the salaries" in the private and public sectors, he said.
"We have been told by employers in the private sector that salaries in the public sector are unrealistic. We accept this criticism. But we need economists to study this and see if it's true and by what factor."
Emiratis make up only around 11.47 percent of the UAE population of about 8.26 million.