Work Culture, Productivity and Efficiency in GCC Countries

GCC Work Culture


Work Culture, Productivity and Efficiency in GCC

I would like to start with extreme “The Culture is not to work, so there is no calculation of productivity and efficiency.” This is maxim but closer to the reality.

Timing – Usual timing of the government offices is 7 am to 1 pm. Private sector work from 8 am to 3 pm, some of them works till 4 pm also. In Qatar and also in Bahrain companies work in two shifts 8 to 1 and 4 to 7. Some of them start from 9 am also.

Even though timing is from 7 am in government offices but you will find very few people at that time, even though government has implemented automatic finger print attendance system but result is not much. The disciplinary actions on the national are rare or non-existent so this is going on. The maximum attendance is from 9 am to 12 noon. So un officially one can consider these as working hours in government sector.

Ramadan Timing – In Ramadan (Month of Fasting) the timings are half of the regular timings. Government works from 9 am to 12 noon and private sector works from 9 am or 10 am to 2 pm or 3 pm not more than five years.

This is culture is of Guahva (local hot drink), tea and coffee. There is no official break for drink or food. The light drinks are continuously served on the working tables and so is efficiency. The passes on the day finish. As clock approaches 12, get ready , time to go. In comparison to men, women are more sincere and hard working.

“Taal Bukara” – Come tomorrow is very important phrase, used very often when you try to make them work. It is used if there is mistake or no mistake. The rules are dependent upon the one who sitting on the counter, if the person is gentle man then yes it will be done if all documentation is correct. It will be done and asked to come tomorrow if it is not. Many times, it may be two or three times you may have to go to finish the work, if there is change in person handling file then, all probability something may come out and will be asked to come tomorrow.

“Vastaa” – This literally means connection. If you have connection then your work is done. The important is the work, needs higher Vastaa. There are touts and agents who get you Vastaa. They promise you to get it done and yes it is done. Even in many times this is one of the core reasons of many government and legal problems.

Working Week - Sunday to Thursday is working week and Friday, Saturday is holiday. Saudi Arabia has Thursday and Friday as off. Five days week is across the GCC. 

Holidays – There are 13 annual holidays every years, varies country to country 1 or 2 days.  Holidays are connected with weekend. So there are three long holidays, which are 3 day connected with week end. If there is only one working day in week then whole week is declared off and staff can enjoy continuous 9 days including two weekends.

National Day , Eid al Fitr( Ramdan Eid) and Eid al Azha ( Bakari Eid, Hajj Time) are three long holiday for each of the 3 to 4 days of holidays are declared. New Year day’s Islamic and Roman, Eid e Milad (Prophets Birth Day), Eid Esra wal Meraj.

Annual Leave – 30 days annual leave is given to the employees; senior employees can get 35 to 40days depending upon their contract, seniority and continuous service.

Summer is season of vacation – June, July and August are considered as summer. Schools are closed for vacation. Parliament is on vacation and most of the expatriate’s like to travel to their home countries. These three months are slow, everything become very slow.  

Sick Leave – 15 days fully paid sick leave, then ¾ paid for 10 days and then 10 days of ½ paid, 10 days of ¼ paid leave. This is very important privilege all workers had.

Maternity Leave – 70 days of maternity leave is legally allowed. It can be taken before or after the delivery as per requirement.

Some special privileges for female employees – Facility of crèche and 2 hour break every day for feeding of the baby after delivery till 1 year.

Productivity and Efficiency – Because of work culture productivity is low, there are very opportunities for training for efforts to improve efficiency are lacking.



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Comments 23 comments

kenken2016 3 months ago

Hi Zia,

why is it some people experiencing problem or sometimes their visa get rejected in GCC if you are a loan defaulter in another GCC? or they are only trying to scare people?

Another thing is that if you absconded from your employer in UAE or you take an emergency vacation and you never comeback because of 3 months delay in you salary and your visa is expired, is there still a chance for you to work in UAE after let say 5 to 10 yrs?

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ZIa Ahmed khan 6 months ago from Kuwait Author

There will no problem.

kenken2016 6 months ago

Hi Zia Brother..

Many thanks,

Follow up question..

Will there be a problem in visa processing our chances are my visa will be rejected in case I am going to work again to other GCC except KSA?

The agency is asking me as to whether I have problems with my previous job in KSA but I told them no and only told them that I just take my vacation and didn't come back because they terminated me already during my vacation.

Thanks Zia brother..

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ZIa Ahmed khan 6 months ago from Kuwait Author

You can travel, but don't talk to collection agency, they will make your life difficult.

kenken2016 6 months ago

Hi Zia,

I am previously working at KSA way back 2013 and left an unpaid loan of 43K rials and CC amounting to 10K rials. I returned to Philippines with out final exit. Now one agency here in Philippines invited me to submit my cv to work in UAE and the other is in Qatar.

Now, there is this collection agency asking me to settle my obligation with the bank. I told the collection agency that I will settle my outstanding payment once I landed again for a job to other GCC countries.

My question is can I still work in qatar/UAE or other gcc despite I have unpaid loan and cc in KSA?

Thanks and looking forward on your immediate reply.


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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@go to CID, with lawyer, they may have filed a case against you. This is the only way to get back the passport or go to your embassy and ask for legal help.

mohamed 3 years ago

canceling my visa and gave my passport, ticket and exit permit to me, they gave it to CID.

what i will do next.

how can i get my passport back from CID and go back qatar to srilanka

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@beth - if they are willing to release you, you can change your employer without exit.

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@beth - you can get all agreed benefit as per contract. Indemnity, leave balance and tickets.

beth 3 years ago

follow up question sir,can I go back and work in ksa maybe after 1month of release from my employer?

beth 3 years ago working here in Dammam ksa as private nurse.i finished my 2yrs contract olredy and now my employer wanted me to extend 1yr more.i agreed to extend my service since they are good to me.i just came from vacation last july 2013 and unfortunately my patient(mother of my employer) died last oct.11 2013..until now I am still here waiting for my ticket.just want to ask what benefit I can get from my employer since dis unexpected circumstances happened and my extended contract with him is not yet finished?

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@Rica, they can not do it, if they try to do it illegally, take the number of local person who is pressing you file a police case against him.

rica 3 years ago


Thanks. can you recommend what should I do once they find me here in Qatar? I'm afraid my CC debt will continue to grow since now it had balloned to 30K due to interests and charges. I really don't have the capacity to pay up now. I'm worried because they might even send collection agents back home if I don't settle the amount.

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@rica - if the payment was for UAE then they can not arrest you in Qatar.

rica 3 years ago

Dear Zla,

I left Dubai this year and transferred to Qatar. I am continually using and paying my CC here in Qatar. Until last month due to financial issues, I stopped paying my CC. Can they arrest me here in Qatar if they trace me? What are the possible consequences if I continue to default? Please help

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@Anthonize- Do not tell the bank, just go to Dubai and continue transferring money to your Oman account and pay the loan. They will not give you NOC and may block your travel

Anthonize 3 years ago

Hi Dr. Khan,

My name is David. I work in Oman. I read most of your conversation you had with other people. I'm having a similar issue with my bank loan in Oman. I do not want to leave Oman without settling the loan. But, now I have a good opportunity in Duabi which I do not want miss as well. I want to go to the bank and tell them the truth.Same time I'm thinking of asking from the bank is there any way transfer my loan to dubai so then I can pay and finish it. will the Oman bank transfer to another bank in Dubai?Once I tell the truth to the bank can they take any action to stop me going to Dubai? or can I go to Dubai and start to pay the loan in Oman?What do you think? Thanks in advance.

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ZIa Ahmed khan 3 years ago from Kuwait Author

@jieboy - no you can travel to other GCC countries.

Jieboy 3 years ago

Sir ahmad previously i work in one of the biggest company in Saudi and i did not finished my contract there due to some problem with that company (ex. Late salary) my question is what are the middle east country would ban me for my application and how long the ban activations for us who did not fi9nished our contract

benjie Gimang 4 years ago

Thank you so much Sir for the assurance...

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ZIa Ahmed khan 4 years ago from Kuwait Author

@benjggimang - yes you can still go to UAE no problems at all.

benjgimang 4 years ago

please help!!! i have an entry visa in Saudi but then I got a job offer in UAE, I want to go to UAE. i can still go to UAE without cancellation of my visa in Saudi?

Muzafar 4 years ago

shikas likha hain

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