How Many Days is Parental Leave or Paternity Leave in UAE? (updated 2021)

How many days is parental leave?

UAE’s private sector has been granted paid paternity leave, after an amendment to the UAE Labour Law was approved by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE in August 2020.

Decree Law No. (6) of 2020 introduces a new Article (74) to the UAE Labor Law (Federal Law No. (8) of 1980) stating that private companies shall grant its [male] employees five days of paid parental leave, to be taken within six months of the child’s birth.

This August the UAE announced that it has become the first Arab country to grant paid paternity leave for the private sector.

In order to align  public sector and private sector employee benefits and the equal treatment of male and female employees in respect of parental leave, Federal Decree Law No (6) of 2020 (the Decree) has introduced amendments to the UAE Labour Law No (8) of 1980 (the Labour Law), as follows:

A new Article 74 has been inserted in the Labour Law by the Decree which provides an entitlement of five paid days of parental leave to all employees (male and female) in the private sector, to be taken within six months of the birth of the child. An employee’s normal weekend off-day would not be included as part of the leave.

Article 74 does not affect the maternity leave rights of female employees under Article 30 of the Labour Law, and employees appear to be eligible to the rights under Article 74 immediately after commencement of their employment. From this decree private sector employees both male and female get the unique advantage to support their family role during the period of caring of their babies.

The new parental leave entitlement applies to both male and female employees working in the private sector in the UAE, apart from those working in the Dubai International Financial Centre or the Abu Dhabi Global Market (which are separate free zones with their own employment laws and regulations).”

This will promote the UAE’s position, which is based on humanitarian considerations and will greatly support the UAE’s efforts in the field of Emiratisation, as it will render the private sector more attractive to the highly qualified national staff, who will be more motivated to join it.

The step strengthens the position of the UAE in the field of gender balance and enhances it efforts to create a competitive model that supports the work environment in the private sector.

Previously the UAE did not require private sector companies to provide any kind of parental or paternity leave to male employees, although some companies included an allowance at their own discretion.

Previously male employees of the government were entitled to three days of paid paternity leave.

Paternity Leave in UAE for Employees:

Under the new UAE Labour Law, employees are entitled to take parental leave, which allows them to take care of their newborn child. This leave is for five working days and can be taken by either the father or mother within six months after the child’s birth.

Applicability of Paternity Leave:

The law does not specify that the child must be born in the UAE for the employee to take parental leave. As long as one of the parents is a UAE worker, they can avail this leave even if the child is born outside the UAE.

Traveling for Child’s Birth:

If an employee’s child is born outside the UAE, they can still use this leave to travel to their home country to be with the child. However, the employer may ask for proof of the child’s birth to grant this leave.

In summary, parental leave (paternity leave) in the UAE is available to employees whether their child is born in the UAE or in their home country, provided they are a UAE worker. It allows them to take five working days off within six months after the child’s birth.

How many days is parental leave?

Five days (5) of paid parental leave to be taken within six months of the child’s birth as per the Decree Law No. (6) of 2020 introduced a new Article (74) to the UAE Labor Law (Federal Law No. (8) of 1980).

Doest the new parental leave/paternity leave applicable to private sector employees?

Yes. This is the first time private sector employees shall be granted parental leave.

How parental leave / paternity leave is calculated?

Parental / Paternity leave is calculated on working days and not on the calendar days which must be taken within six months of the child’s birth as per the Decree.

Does the new parental leave applicable to women?

The new parental leave is applicable to both male and female employees.

What is the difference between maternity leave and parental leave?

The statutory maternity leave entitlement is only available for female employees ” whereas the new parental leave benefit is available for both male and female employees.

The maternity leave is 45 days calendar days (including regular weekend days and any public holidays ) whereas parental leave entitlement is for 5 working days.

Can a woman add parental leave on top her maternity leaveOpens in a new tab. ?

“Yes, subject to agreement and acceptance between the employee and their employer.

How long you do need to have worked in the company to get the advantage of parental leave ?

Since this is a positive development and gives due recognition to the importance of both men and women to spend time with their new babies as such “There are no specific pre-requisites for the new parental leave entitlement, however, it can only be availed up until the baby reaches six months of age.

Are parents required to submit any ‘proof’ in order to be able to receive their parental leave?

“There is no specific legal requirement for the employee to provide these types of documents in order to prove their eligibility, however, it is up to the company discretion to implement their own internal protocols or requirements in order for an employee to avail of the benefit.”

Can the parental leave be taken in addition to the 100 sick days of unpaid leave that may be taken, if necessary, by a new mother in the UAE?

Yes, the new parental leave benefit is separate (and in addition) to the unpaid sick leave days which a female employee may be entitled to under the UAE Labour Law. 

Note: Parental leave/paternity leave is granted to take care of the child. As per the current announcement, the baby has to be born in the UAE. In case if your child is born outside and you are not going to be physically with your baby then this could be open to interpretation. Also, the five days of parental leave limited to five working days and would remain the same regardless of the number of children (twins or multiples).

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