Saudi Arabia is taking the first steps to switch its weekend to begin on Fridays to align its banking and business days with most other nations in the region.

Saudi media reports say the kingdom's advisory body agreed Monday on changing from the current system, in which the two-day weekend begins Thursday. The proposal still needs to pass the Council of Ministers and the Saudi royal court before it could take effect.

A similar recommendation in 2007 failed, but the Saudi business community has been lobbying for the switch for years to match the schedule in main regional commercial hubs, such as Dubai.

Oman plans to switch to Friday-Saturday weekends beginning May 1. Most other countries in the Gulf start their weekends Friday, the Muslim Sabbath.