MUSCAT, Oman (AP) -- Oman will switch to a Friday-Saturday weekend to align its banking and business days with most other nations in the region.
Currently, Oman and neighboring Saudi Arabia follow a Thursday-Friday weekend. But other countries in the Gulf start their two-day weekends on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.
The decree by Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, also ordered private companies to give their employees the same number of religious holidays as civil servants in an effort to make non-state jobs more attractive.
Oman has faced sporadic Arab Spring-inspired protests demanding greater employment opportunities.
The new weekend decree, carried Sunday by the official Oman News Agency, will take effect May 1.