What are your maternity rights in the UAE?

The UAE's Labour Law lays down special provisions relating to the working hours and conditions of women employees. 

Public sector

As per Article 53 of Federal Law No. 11 of 2008 Regarding Human Resources in Federal Government, a female employee in a permanent position shall be granted maternity leave of 60 days with full salary.

After that, for 4 months from the date of the employee resuming work, she is entitled to 2 hours' reduced working hours to nurse her child either at the beginning or at the end of the working hours. Such breaks are fully paid for.

As per Article 54 of the same law, a male employee who gets a child is entitled to paid paternity leave for three days during the month of the delivery provided that delivery should be within the UAE.

Nurseries in public offices

According to Cabinet Resolution No. 19 of 2006, ministries and other Government institutions with more than 50 female employees should set up crèches or nurseries at their headquarters for their employees' children. This is aimed to boost productivity, reduce resignations and support family stability.

Maternity leave in Abu Dhabi

Females are entitled to three months of fully-paid maternity leave. After the female employee resumes, she is entitled to two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to nurse her child.

Males are entitled to three days' paternity leave.

Useful links:

Maternity leave in Dubai Government

Maternity leave in Dubai government is subject to Dubai Government Human Resources Management Law No. 27 of 2006. In January 2017, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council made an amendment to maternity leave provision and approved the extension of compulsory fully paid maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days. The decision went into effect on 1 March 2018.

The new policy permits the addition of annual leave and unpaid leave to the maternity leave up to a maximum of 120 days from the start date of the maternity leave.

 After resuming work and for one year from the date of the baby’s birth, the new mother is entitled to 2 hours' reduced working hours to nurse her child, either at the beginning or at the end of the working hours. In Ramadan, nursing hours is reduced to one hour.

 Maternity leave in Sharjah Government

Since the issuance of a local decree in 2016, the total period of maternity leave in Sharjah Government is 120 days, comprising 90 days paid leave and 30 days unpaid leave.

 The decree permitted to adding annual leave to the maternity leave and granted new mothers two hours for nursing their child for a duration of six months.

 Maternity leave in Ras Al Khaimah Government

In November 2016, Ras Al Khaimah Government extended the maternity leave to 90 days paid leave. Earlier in 2015, the nursing period was extended to one whole year from the birth of the baby.

Private sector

Articles 27 to 34 of the UAE's labor law lay down special provisions for women employees in the private sector. Some of the important provisions are:

  • Women may not be employed between 10 pm and 7 am with exceptions in administrative, technical and health services
  • Women may not be employed in hazardous or strenuous or physically challenging jobs
  • Women are entitled to the same wage that a man would earn for the same job
  • Women are entitled to maternity benefits as explained below:

A working woman is entitled to 45 day's maternity leave including the time before and after delivery. If the woman has completed one year of continuous employment for the same employer, she is entitled to full pay during maternity leave; otherwise, she is entitled to half pay.

In addition, after delivery, the woman is entitled to two additional breaks each day, with each break not exceeding half an hour for nursing her child. The woman is entitled to such breaks for 18 months following the date of delivery and is entitled to full pay.

Common provisions

Gender Balance Guide

In September 2017, the Gender Balance Council launched the Gender Balance Guide: Actions for UAE Organisations prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The guide recommends actions for organizations to:

  1. Implement commitment and oversight for gender balance
  2. Integrate gender into policies and programmes
  3. Engage personnel towards gender balance
  4. Implement gender balance in leadership positions
  5. Implement gender-sensitive communication.

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