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Maternity Leave-UAE Labour Law

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: What maternity leave is a female employee entitled to?

Answer: A working woman is entitled to 45 days maternity leave with full pay which includes the period before and after the delivery, provided she has served continuously for not less than one year. The maternity leave is granted with half pay if the woman has not completed one year of service.

At the end of the maternity leave, a working woman has the right to extend her maternity leave for a maximum period of l0 days without pay. This unpaid leave can be continuous or interrupted, if the interruption is caused by illness which prevents her from coming to work. The illness must be confirmed by a certified government physician licenced by the competent health authority.

Maternity leave in either of the above cases is not deducted from any other leave that a female employee is entitled to.

During the 18 months following delivery, a female employee who nurses her child has the right to have two daily intervals which do not exceed half an hour each for the purpose of nursing her child. These additional intervals are considered part of her working hours and no deduction in wages can be made.

+ Free zone women employees also entitled to maternity leave.

Paternity leave is not provided for under the Law in Dubai mainland.
However, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) employees will get five days of statutory paternity leave as per the new employment law as the country looks at gender equality at workplace, effective from August 28, 2019.

Question: My wife recently joined a medical centre. As per her contract, she cannot get pregnant for 18 months after joining work. Is this legal? Can they deny us our basic right?

Answer: Maternity leave refers to taking time off after birth. A woman's rights, when it comes to pregnancy and infant care, are addressed by Federal Law No 8/1980, the UAE Labour Law.

Article 30 of the UAE Labour Law provides 45 days' maternity leave with full pay which includes the time before and after delivery, provided her employment duration is not less than a year.

However, if the employment duration is less than a year, she is entitled to the same maternity leave with half pay. Furthermore, Article 7 states that any condition mentioned in the employment contract which is inconsistent with the provision of this law shall be deemed null and void.

Therefore, the condition as mentioned in your wife's contract that she 'cannot get pregnant for 18 months after joining work', is null and void. Thus, it is your wife's legal right to avail 45 days' maternity leave with full pay if she has completed one year. Otherwise, she is entitled to 45 days leave with half pay.

Question: I am a working lady and can I take maternity leave more than once?

: 'A female worker shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement, on condition that she has been in her employer's service for a continuous period of not less than one year. If she has not completed the aforesaid period of service, she shall be entitled to maternity leave with half pay.

On the expiry of her maternity leave a female worker may be absent from her work without pay for a maximum period of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days if such absence is due to an illness preventing her from resuming her work and if the illness confirmed by the medical service specified by the competent health authority or if the latter authority confirms that the illness was caused by the woman's work or confinement.

Therefore the above mentioned article gives the right for every working lady for maternity pay for every birth and even with service of less than one year.

Can maternity leave be denied in UAE free zones?
As per the UAE Labour Law, a female employee is entitled to maternity leave even if the company she is working with is not under the purview of the Ministry of Labour. The UAE Labour Law is applicable to all companies, whether they are under the Ministry of Labour or a free zone authority.

Dubai Govt staff to get 3-month maternity leave
Women workers in the government sector are entitled to three-month paid maternity leave effective from 2017 March 1. The maternity leave can be combined with regular leave or unpaid leave, but for a maximum period of 120 days.

The time for breastfeeding has been extended from one to two hours a day, effective from the day of delivery for a full year. These paid hours, to be reduced to one hour during the holy month of Ramadan, can be availed in the beginning or at the end of the daily working hours.

In the case of abortion or giving birth to a stillborn, the working woman shall be entitled to sick leave based on a report officially attested by a medical committee. The mother of a special needs baby shall be given fully paid leave, the period of which will be determined by the official medical committee as per the baby's condition.

Earlier, working mothers in the public sector were entitled to only two-month maternity leave against 45 days for those working in the private sector.

The emirates of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah recently revised their laws to give pregnant working mothers an extended leave with full pay.

The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in September 2016 issued a law giving government employees in Abu Dhabi a three-month paid maternity leave, and a three-day paternity leave. Emirati working women were also given the right to sign out two hours earlier for one year from the day of giving birth.

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammead Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, also issued a decree in November 2016 whereby the maternity leave in the emirate was extended to 120 days; including 90 paid and 30 unpaid days. (KT)
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