The first thing you look for in a new year's calendar is the official holidays; yes, you're not the only one. This is why it helps having the calendar in advance so you could plot your way into bridging as many days as possible to get extended vacations.
Let's set some ground rules:
- For any Monday that happens to be off, you automatically take Sunday as well.
- For any Wednesday that happens to be off, you automatically take Thursday as well.
- For any Tuesday that happens to be off, you have two options: you can either take two days before or after, and link the Tuesday to the weekend.
What's better than having the first day of the new year off? January 1st is on a Tuesday and it might be a good idea to take Monday (you can throw in Sunday too) to enjoy the new year's celebrations.
February, March, April, and May will go by with no salvation in sight, except for Wednesday, April 3rd (El Esraa w El Mearag). You should probably take Thursday off for a 4-day breather. Ramadan starts on Monday May 6th, which is a holiday, but you should probably take the Sunday off to be ready for fasting.
June comes bearing gifts: the first 9-day vacation courtesy of Eid el Fitr. It starts with Tuesday the 4th and ends on Thursday the 6th, so all you need to do is bridge with the weekend before Eid by taking Sunday and Monday off, and you won’t be going to work for the first week of June – plus the weekends.
Unfortunately, July doesn't have much to offer, but Saturday August 10th is Wa2fet Arafa so you'll get 4 days off. Then, when Eid ends on Tuesday, take Wednesday and Thursday off for a 9-day vacation starting Friday the 9th and ending Saturday the 17th. It might be the perfect opportunity to make use of the Emirati passport and visit one of the 167 countries you can go to without a prior visa process.
To wrap up the month, Islamic New Year comes on Saturday August 30th, in case you have only Friday off for weekends.
Come September and October, you'll be working hard without much respite, and both occasions happening in November are sadly on Saturdays – the 9th is the Prophet's birthday, and Martyrs' Day is on the 30th. Fortunately, then comes December with the National Day Holiday on Monday and Tuesday the 2nd and 3rd. You can go wild and take Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday off and go for a rerun of that 9-day-long vacation.
If you followed the mentioned bridges, you will have used just 11 days of your annual leaves with 13 still remaining, plus the weekends. 39 days off is not bad at all, is it?
For holidays coinciding with weekends, the government might announce a day instead, which would increase your tally of 39. For Islamic holidays, the days off are calculated according to the Hijri calendar, which depends on the lunar months, so there might be some slight changes.