Saudi Arabia's Fri-Sat weekend change 'soon'

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Saudi Arabia will “soon” switch to a Friday-Saturday weekend, bringing the kingdom in line with the rest of the Gulf, according to the head of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).

Unlike the other five GCC states, Saudi Arabia currently operates on a Thursday-Friday weekend, although earlier this year the country’s consultative Shoura Council agreed to discuss the switch in principle for public sector workers, although did not provide a timeline.

“We are waiting for an official decision on the matter soon because we believe it is in the final stages [of approval],” Abdullah Al-Mubti, president of the CSC, told English language newspaper Arab News.

Al-Mubti said that all of Saudi Arabia’s chambers had already given their approval to the change for the public sector, although a switch for the private sector was still under discussion. “The change will facilitate contacts with international markets, especially financial markets,” he added.

Earlier this year a leading lawyer in the country told Arabian Business that he expected the switch to happen later in 2013.

“I do believe in the very near term we’re going to see Riyadh go to the Friday-Saturday weekend configuration from its current Thursday-Friday,” said Kevin Connor, MENA co-ordinating partner for legal firm Squire Sanders.

“It will probably become effective in January next year, to get people accustomed to it, or maybe in the fall.”

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