The Complete Guide to Maternity Leave in UAE in 2023

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The Complete Guide to Maternity Leave in UAE in 2023 1

Maternity leave in UAE has been expanded to 60 days for female employees under the country’s new Labour Law, up from the previous length of 45 days. During the first 45 days, female workers are entitled to full pay, while the next 15 days are entitled to half pay. The maternity leave is defined in Article 30 of the law, which outlines the rights and benefits of female workers during this time. Female workers are eligible for maternity leave starting from the last day of the month preceding the delivery and can take the leave even before giving birth.

Additionally, female workers who have exhausted their maternity leave but are unable to work due to pregnancy-related illnesses can take 45 days of unpaid leave. If a female worker gives birth to a sick child or a child with special needs, she can take an additional 30 days of paid leave, which can be extended for another 30 days. The employer is obligated to grant the female worker maternity leave when requested and it is illegal to terminate a female worker due to pregnancy or for taking maternity leave. Female workers are also entitled to take one or two breaks per day to nurse their child for up to six months following the delivery.

Paternity leave is also covered in the new Labour Law, outlined in Article 32 (1b). The law states that both the father and mother of a child are entitled to 5 days of paid leave to care for their child, which can be taken successively or otherwise during the first 6 months following the birth of the child.

Maternity leave in UAE is guaranteed by the UAE laws for working mothers who need to get a break from professional activities to welcome a new child in the family. Many companies still view motherhood and fatherhood as mutually exclusive activities from employment. When outdated societal perceptions and cultural expectations surrounding motherhood limit women’s contribution at work, families, companies and economies are adversely affected. Similarly, overcoming resistance to entrenched stereotypes of masculinity may clash with men’s changing perceptions of fatherhood.

Employees who take maternity leave form a crucial talent pool and retaining this talent is imperative for companies to strengthen its limited pipeline of women leaders. Maternity leave in UAE is increasingly seen as a positive measure that promotes family-friendly environments and recognizes the role of fathers in today’s business environment.

New mothers and fathers come back to work with new insights, and parenthood is a great learning experience that enhances key skills such as prioritization and empathy that are important in a business environment.But, how long are the maternity leaves in UAE valid for? Who is entitled for maternity leaves in the UAE? Here are some FAQ of maternity leaves in the UAE. Take these and other questions below:

What is maternity leave in UAE? 

Maternity leave in UAE is a period granted to a woman who is about to have a child or just had a baby remains away from work, in order to reestablish herself from the delivery and raise bonds with her new baby.

In UAE, the maternity leave for females working in the private sector are regulated by the Federal Law n.08/1980 (UAE Labor Law) 

For females working on the public sector, it differs from federal workers to public workers from each emirate.

Maternity Leave pay in UAE 

Working women with a year of continuous service are entitled to 60 days maternity leave with full pay. (This includes the period before and after the delivery). The maternity leave is granted with half pay if the woman has not yet completed one year of service.

She may then extend her maternity leave for a maximum period of 10 days without pay – this can be continuous or interrupted if caused by an illness (in this case a certified doctor’s note is required).

Finally, for up to 18 months following her delivery, female employees are entitled to two daily intervals of up to 30 minutes for the purpose of nursing.

A DIFC employee is entitled to a minimum maternity leave of sixty five (65) working days. Furthermore, an employee is entitled to be paid during the minimum maternity leave if she has been continuously employed for at least one (1) year prior to the expected or actual week of childbirth.

The maternity pay, under DIFC Employment Law, is calculated as follows:

  1. normal daily wage for the first thirty three (33) working days of maternity leave; and
  2. fifty (50) per cent of the employee’s normal daily wage for the next thirty-two (32) working days of maternity leave.

Extending Maternity Leave in UAE

UAE Labour law, allows an employee to take longer maternity leave, due to complications of pregnancy or delivery, beyond Sixty (60) days for a maximum period of hundred (100) continuous or intermittent days without pay.

Are Female adopters eligible for Maternity Leave in UAE?

UAE Labour Law, does not recognize, up until now, maternity rights to a female employee who is adopting a child. DIFC Employment Law grants maternity rights to an employee who is adopting a child of less than three (3) months old.

Paternity Leave in UAE

As of 31 August 2020, private sector employees in the UAE are granted five days of paternity leave, under a new order issues by the country’s President. The leave must be taken within six months of the birth of the child.

Who is entitled for maternity leave in UAE?

Female workers who are expectant mothers are entitled to maternity leave in UAE. It does not matter if she works in the private or public sector or a company based out of free zone or mainland.

What is the duration of maternity leave in UAE?

For females working in the private sector, the maternity leave is regulated by article 30 of the Labor Law, and states 60 (Sixty) days of maternity leave. The count of days includes weekends and public holidays.

Is it possible to extend Maternity Leaves in UAE?

According to the UAE law, an extension of up to 100 days consecutive or not can be asked when finishing the maternity leave period. 

Nonetheless, it’s a non-paid leave and must be proved that absence is due to certified medical illness.

What is breastfeed leave?

In addition to the 60-day maternity leave, mothers who work and breastfeed for the first 18 months of their baby’s life are entitled, by law, to two breaks, of half an hour each to breastfeed, as part of the working hours and being illegal any reduction of salary based on this period.

Do pregnant women or returning from maternity leave have a job guarantee?

No, being pregnant alone is not sufficient reason for dismissal. However, the female worker can be fired during the pregnancy time.

It is important to say if the dismissal occurs without a valid reason, the worker can file a claim to the UAE Labor Court. The Court’s rule can vary from reinstatement, and if not possible, settlement of adequate compensation based on your gross salary, plus gratuity and end of service compensations.

The job position is also not secured by maternity leave. In the course of the leave, the employer decided to move the employee to another position is perfectly legal, once there is no salary reduction.

The termination of the contract, while the woman is in maternity leave, is illegal, and the mother can file a claim on the Labor Court against the employer for compensation.

Can sick leave be used with maternity leave?

Any employee has a right for sick leave and not exceeding 90 days a year.

Any illness related to the pregnancy as soon as the provided medical certificate is covered by the legal period. The payment is calculated according to article 83 of the Labor law: 

  • The first 15 days: with full pay. 
  • The next 30 days: with half pay. 
  • Any subsequent periods: without pay. 

Maternity leave for women in the public sector 

Maternity leave for Federal Employees:

If the mother or expectant is a federal employee, the law granted 90 days of maternity leave with full salary payment, after returning to her work activities with 2 hours daily for breastfeeding.

Maternity leave for Abudhabi Government Employees 

Workers are entitled to three months of paid maternity leave in full. Upon return, she is entitled to two hours off daily in the first year after delivery to breastfeeding her child.

Maternity leave for Dubai Government Employees 

Maternity leave in Dubai grants female employees 90 days of maternity leave starting from the delivery date. She may also apply for maternity leave up to 30 days prior to the expected delivery date. And 2 hours to nurse her child, when she resumes her work activities.

Annual leave and unpaid leave can be added to maternity leave taking the maximum total number of days to 120. 

Where a female employee gives birth to a baby with special needs, she will be granted childcare leave for the period from the expiry date of the maternity leave to the date on which her baby completes one 1 year of age.

Maternity leave for Sharjah Government Employees 

Since 2016, the total period of maternity leave in Sharjah Government is 120 days, being 90 days of fully paid leave and 30 days unpaid leave.

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

Maternity leave for Ras Al Khaimah Government Employees 

In 2016, Ras Al Khaimah Government extended the maternity leave to 90 days paid leave, and the nursing period is one whole year from the birth of the baby.

Maternity leave for DIFC employees 

Employees working on DIFC has 65 (sixty-five) days of maternity leave as per the article 36 of the DIFC Employment Law.

The payment will be regulated by the time of service being the mother entitled of full payment once she worked at least 12 months prior to the leave demand.

The payment will be made in full for the first 33 days and 50% for the additional 32 days. 

The DIFC also states the importance of the pregnancy’s notification by the expectant mother to the employer about the pregnancy, which must be a minimum 8 (eight) weeks prior to the childbirth followed by a medical report. The notification of the beginning of maternity leave must occur minimum in 21 days in advance.

Under the DIFC law, the adoption of a child is also comprised of the maternity leave institute as long as the adopted child is less than 5 years old. All the other requirements abovementioned will count as the day of the adoption.

The Annual leave can be consecutive to the maternity leave period.

The Public holiday that falls into the maternity leave period is considered an extension of the maternity leave period.

The mother working under the DIFC law is granted the return to work at the same conditions, same position, and employment terms prior to leaving.

Are Fathers entitled to Paternity Leave in UAE?

For all male employees of the UAE public section, that have a child delivered in UAE is granted 3 days of fully paid paternity leave. All the Emirates follow the same recommendation stated on the Federal Decree 11/2008.

For fathers in the private sector, the UAE Labor law does not state any paternity leave period. However, the companies tend to follow the guidelines for public service, although it is not mandatory.

Under the DIFC law, fathers have 5 days of paternity leave if prior the leave the employee completed at least 12 months of working service under the DIFC authority and notify the pregnancy to the employer at least 8 weeks before the childbirth.

The paternity leave also applies for adopting children under 5 years old and must be taken in a moth of the delivery/adoption.

The Public holiday that falls into the paternity leave period is considered an extension of the leave period.

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