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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Residents still hoping for extra day off for Qatar National Day


Preparations for National Day.
Preparations for National Day.

UPDATE: Late Thursday night, the Emiri Diwan declared Sunday, Dec. 20 to be an official holiday because of QND.

Many Qatar residents are heading home from work this afternoon uncertain if they are expected to show up tomorrow.

Because National Day falls on a Friday this year, many have been expecting the government to declare either Thursday, Dec. 17 or Sunday, Dec. 20 a public holiday.

However, nothing official has been announced as of 4:50pm on Wednesday, leaving many confused about child care arrangements and whether they should go to work in the morning.

Speaking to Doha News, representatives from Qatar’s state news agency and the Qatar Central Bank both said that they not been notified about government offices or banks being closed on Thursday or Sunday.

A brief meme was circulated online declaring a public holiday tomorrow, but the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said this announcement was a fake.


Holiday planning

Decisions on public holidays are traditionally made by the Emiri Diwan.

National Day has been marked on Dec. 18 since 2008. The last time QND fell on a Friday was in 2009, when the government declared more than a week in advance that the day before, Dec. 17, would be a holiday.

The following year, when QND fell on a Saturday, the Emiri Diwan declared Sunday, Dec. 19 to be a holiday in an announcement just ahead of the start of the weekend.

Emiri Diwan
Emiri Diwan

That precedent, along with the common practice in many countries to give residents a day off work when a statutory holiday falls on a weekend, had many people in Qatar expecting Thursday to be declared a holiday this year.

In anticipation of this, several schools have already said they will be closed tomorrow, some making the announcement only this week.

Some companies have also taken an ad hoc approach to the holiday by giving their employees tomorrow off, while others are making Saturday or Sunday a non-working day.

Public vs private sector

A public holiday announcement would primarily affect government employees, bank staff as well as semi-government employees, such as those working for organizations such as Qatar Foundation and Al Jazeera.

National Day 2015
National Day 2015

However, under Qatar’s labor law, all employees are entitled to a work day off with full pay on the country’s “Independence Day,” which was celebrated in October September before being replaced by National Day celebrations in December.

The law does not specify when that day must be granted.

For those who want to use Thursday to get into the National Day spirit, events are taking place at Darb Al Saai, the Pearl-Qatar and the Hyatt Plaza, among other venues.

You can check out a full run-down of National Day festivities in our online guide here.

How do you plan to spend Thursday? Thoughts?

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