Dubai Mums Call For More Ramadan Hours Flexibility

Although the official Ramadan hours have not yet been formally announced by the KHDA, Dubai's working parents are already concerned about just how they will make the new school timings work...

Although the KHDA and ADEC are yet to release the final Ramadan school timings for 2017, mums across the UAE are already concerned about just how they will work the new timings into their already busy day. spoke to The Mirdif Mums, a group for mums based in Mirdif, Dubai to find out their concerns...

For a lucky few, like Mel Carruthers, who work flexi-hours, there is little concern, “my husband and I have both worked part-time/flexibly since our son was born six years ago, so that we could share childcare and breadwinning responsibilities 50/50.”

She says, “I'll do drop-off during Ramadan, and he'll do pick-up apart from the one to two days per week when I work from home and can squeeze it in. We found that this was the only way to make it work for us...”

Mel says she knows she is one of the lucky few.

“I work full time, and I'm a single mom with no nanny,” said Debra Gibbs. “My son finishes at 1pm... I'm stressed beyond belief as to how I am going to be able to fetch him at 1 sharp.”

For many mums like Heba Korayem, Ramadan will change very little in their daily schedule.

She says, “I work full time, my nanny picks up and takes care of my kids till I get home, Ramadan hours or not!”

Others told us that while they will receive reduced working hours during Ramadan, these are not actually compatible with the Ramadan school hours.

Nazish Inam said, “I work full time and have done since both my kids were born. It's out of necessity, not choice. I do get Reduced Ramadan hours but I still have to work until 3pm which doesn't help the school pick up issue."

"This is a concerning issue for us," she says."As school pick-ups take at least one and a half hours or even two hours’ minimum… my work is not flexible…childcare becomes such a juggling act when both parents are working full time and it's extremely stressful.” 

While many working mums are employed in Dubai’s various Freezones, it would seem that much confusion remains on which employees are entitled to receive reduced Ramadan hours and even what those hours will be.

Mum and DIFC employee, Holly Stringer said, “I think it's down to the individual companies in DIFC. I have worked in the DIFC for two different companies combined to over 10 years and always worked reduced hours during Ramadan. Luckily for me now my current job is very flexible, although this isn’t something you find a lot of here.”

However, not everyone is so lucky. Several mums said they would not be receiving any changes in work hours and were still trying to find ‘workable-options’ for their children.

Many said they had been trying to get their children added to their school’s bus system, however everyone we spoke to said they were told buses are not an option as they are already full.

“There's no real solution," says Nazish Inam. "Unless you have a maid and live next door to the school, which also means sacrificing that time/relationship with the school and your child.”