How long is the maternity leave in UAE?
The new UAE labor law, which will be effective from February 2, 2022, brings several changes to maternity and parental leave for private sector worker.This initiative has been taken as a part of UAE’s efforts to empower women in the private sector as well as enhance workforce productivity and talent retention.
The new amendments in the law emphasize that all provisions regulating the employment of workers shall apply without discrimination to working women. Also, employers are to provide women with equal pay for the same job performed by men, with the value to be determined by the cabinet. Discrimination is also prohibited in terms of duties in the same workplace, hiring on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, nationality or disability.
In the new UAE Labour Law, the maternity leave in the private sector has been extended to 60 days including 15 days of half wage.
In case of a female worker or the newborn falling ill due to pregnancy or delivery female worker is eligible to receive 45 days in addition to her maternity leave without pay. Such illness shall be proved by a medical certificate issued by the medical institution and such period shall not be included in the period of the end of service calculation.
Under the new UAE labor law, specifically Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021, the regulations regarding maternity and parental leave are as follows:
Maternity Leave (Article 30):
- Female workers are entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days, consisting of: a. The first 45 days with full pay. b. The next 15 days with half pay.
- If a female worker exhausts her maternity leave, she can take up to 45 additional days of unpaid leave if she or her child is ill due to pregnancy or delivery, supported by a medical certificate.
- Maternity leave is applicable if the delivery occurs after six months of pregnancy, regardless of whether the child is stillborn or born alive but subsequently dies.
- If a female worker delivers a sick child or a child with special needs requiring continuous care, she is entitled to an additional 30 days of full-paid leave, which can be extended for another 30 days.
- The female worker must request maternity leave from the last day of the month preceding the month of delivery, supported by a certificate from a medical institution.
- Taking maternity leave or other leaves as per this article does not affect the female worker’s entitlement to other leaves.
- If a female worker works for another employer during the maternity leave period, her employer may withhold her wage for that period or recover any wages paid.
- Termination or notice of termination cannot be based on pregnancy, obtaining maternity leave, or taking leave as mentioned in this article.
- After returning from maternity leave, a female worker can have one or two breaks per day, not exceeding one hour in total, for nursing her child for up to six months following the delivery date.
Paternal Leave (Article 32, Clause 1 (b)):
- A worker (father or mother) who has a child is entitled to five working days of paid paternal leave within six months after the child’s birth to care for the child. This leave can be taken consecutively or at different times during the six-month period.
These regulations aim to provide more favorable work conditions for employees, promote work-life balance, and enhance talent retention in the UAE’s private sector.
Maternity and Paternity Leave in the UAE Government Sector: Entitlements and Guidelines:
In the UAE government sector, both maternity and paternity leave are provided to employees.
In the federal government, female employees in permanent positions are entitled to three months of maternity leave with full salary, as per Article 53 of Federal Decree Law No.11 for the year 2008 on Human Resources in the Federal Government as amended by Federal Decree Law No. 9 for the year 2011, and Federal Decree Law No. 17 for 2016.
Following the maternity leave, for a period of four months upon resuming work, mothers are granted two hours of reduced working hours, fully paid, to nurse their child either at the beginning or end of the working day. Combining maternity leave with unpaid leave is not permissible.
According to Article 54 of the aforementioned law, if a male employee becomes a father and the delivery occurs within the UAE, he is eligible for paid paternity leave lasting three days.
In Abu Dhabi, female employees are entitled to three months of fully-paid maternity leave. Additionally, after returning to work, they can avail two hours of daily leave during the first year after delivery to nurse their child and Males are entitled to three days’ paternity leave.
Dubai Government regulates maternity leave under Decree No. 14 of 2017. It grants female employees a maternity leave duration of 90 days, starting from the delivery date. The leave can also be applied for up to 30 days prior to the expected delivery date. Maternity leave in Dubai Government can be extended up to 120 days by adding annual leave and unpaid leave. Moreover, for one year from the baby’s birth, mothers are entitled to two hours of reduced working hours to nurse their child.
Male employees are entitled to a fully paid paternity leave of three days, which should be taken within one month of the birth of the child.
In Sharjah Government, maternity leave consists of 90 days of paid leave and an additional 30 days of unpaid leave, as per a local decree from 2016. New mothers are also provided two hours of nursing time for a duration of six months.
Ras Al Khaimah Government extended maternity leave to 90 days of paid leave, and the nursing period was extended to one year from the baby’s birth.
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