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Public Holidays, Weekends, and Leave Types in Bahrain

09 Nov 2023

  • Bahrain, the archipelago of islands located in the heart of the Persian Gulf, is not just known for its rich cultural heritage and dazzling skyline but also for its employee-friendly laws and regulations. If you're an employee or a business owner in Bahrain, understanding public holidays, the weekend system, and various leave types is crucial. Let's dive deep into this topic to get a comprehensive view.

  • Public Holidays in Bahrain

    In Bahrain, public holidays play a significant role in the cultural and religious fabric of the country. Here are the primary public holidays:

    1. New Year's Day (January 1st): Celebrated as the first day of the Gregorian calendar.
    2. Labor Day (May 1st): Honors workers and their contributions.
    3. Eid al-Fitr: A joyous occasion marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The exact date varies according to the Islamic lunar calendar but typically lasts for 2-3 days.
    4. Eid al-Adha: Commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, this festival lasts for 4 days. The dates are based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
    5. Islamic New Year: Celebrated on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Its date varies each year.
    6. Prophet Muhammad's Birthday: Celebrated on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi Al Awal.
    7. National Day (December 16th): Celebrates Bahrain's national identity and heritage.
    8. Ashura: An important religious observance for the Shia Muslim community, marking the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. It's observed on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

    Note: Since Islamic holidays are determined by the lunar calendar, their dates on the Gregorian calendar vary annually. Businesses should remain updated and adjust their operations accordingly.

  • Weekends in Bahrain

    Bahrain follows the pattern of many Middle Eastern countries in designating Friday and Saturday as the weekend. Friday is a sacred day for Muslims, with the significant Jumu'ah prayer taking place in the afternoon. As a result, most businesses close for half a day or the entire day on Friday. Saturday provides a buffer for businesses to get back into the work groove before the new week starts.

  • Types of Leaves for Employees

    Being aware of the different types of leaves in Bahrain ensures that both employers and employees maintain a harmonious work relationship:

    1. Annual Leave: According to the Bahrain Labor Law, employees are entitled to a minimum of 30 days of paid annual leave after one year of continuous service.
    2. Sick Leave: Employees can avail of up to 55 days of sick leave with full pay, provided they present a medical certificate. The breakdown is: 15 days with full pay, 20 days with half-pay, and 20 days without pay.
    3. Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave with full pay. Additionally, they have the right to two hours of break daily for nursing purposes for the child’s first six months.
    4. Hajj Leave: Muslim employees who have been in continuous service for more than a year are entitled to an unpaid Hajj leave of up to 14 days once during their employment to perform the pilgrimage.
    5. Bereavement Leave: In the unfortunate event of the death of a close family member, employees are entitled to 3 days of paid bereavement leave.
    6. Emergency Leave: Specific to certain emergencies, this leave's approval and duration depend on the employer’s discretion.


Bahrain’s blend of tradition and modernism reflects not only in its landscape but also in its work culture. Whether you’re an employer ensuring compliance or an employee keen on knowing your rights, being familiar with public holidays, weekends, and leave types is essential. This knowledge fosters a transparent, understanding, and productive work environment. To all businesses and workers in Bahrain, here’s to balance, well-being, and prosperity!