Women are hesitant to
get married and have babies
because of the job situation
in the UAE, says Dr Amal Al Qubaisi.
Abu Dhabi: A member of the Federal National Council has said the maternity leave law must be reconsidered to encourage more Emiratis to have children.
"The number of Emiratis is not going to grow," Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, FNC member and head of the Committee of Education, Youth Culture and Media, said.
"This is due to the fact that the mortality and birth rates in the UAE are equal, and while population increase is encouraged, it won't happen unless birth rates rise," she explained. The FNC member is calling for a complete reconsideration of the UAE law regarding pregnant women and maternity leave.
Audio: Call to revamp UAE maternity laws:
Until recently, the law in the UAE granted a pregnant woman two months' fully paid leave, two months of half salary leave, and two months' unpaid leave. In 2007, a new law emerged stating that a pregnant woman would now get 45 days paid maternity leave and allowed 18 hours per month for lactating purposes.
"When the law came out, no women's organisations were consulted; in addition, it has been modified so maternity leave is reduced. Considering that 53 per cent of the federal organisation's workforce is women, it doesn't seem right," Dr Amal said.
According to her, this reduction does not equal what is happening globally, as Unicef recommends an average four months of fully paid leave for women.
"Other countries, Egypt for example, allow women three months of paid maternity leave and two years unpaid leave. Sweden permits their women 16 months of paid maternity leave, and two years of parental leave shared between the father and the mother and funded by the government. Kuwait and Bahrain also provide women with between one to two years parental leave," she added.
"Women are hesitant to get married and have babies because of the job situation in the UAE. Some companies prefer not to hire pregnant women, while others automatically exclude pregnant women from promotions. Their reasons are always fear of the woman's situation affecting the productivity level of her work and therefore negatively impacting the company," she further added.
"However, a compromise can be reached if the laws on maternity leave are revised. Women shouldn't have to face the difficult and unfair choice between a career and a child. I myself was pregnant during the elections, it did not at all affect my work and did not prevent me from winning the elections," she added.
Apart from the general increase of time of maternity leave, Dr Amal's other requests include modifications in father's leave as well. The current law regarding fathers in the UAE grants them three days off work subsequent to their child's birth. The FNC member asks for those three days to be extended to two weeks. In addition, she is requesting a new regulation; should a mother pass away during delivery, her husband should get longer paid leave.
Dr Amal's other proposals include the mother being granted longer leave than usual in the case of premature birth or the birth of a mentally/physically disabled child.
"Another reason women are hesitant to conceive is because they worry that even if they have successful careers, it will negatively impact their child. The mother will have to depend on a babysitter or a housekeeper, and this can lead to her child's upbringing lacking crucial elements like religion, principles and values as well as correct language awareness. The introduction of nurseries at work premises — which came out in a decree in 2006 but was never applied — is an uncomplicated way of resolving that problem. It will also result in reduction of the woman's 18 hours of lactation as her child will be on the same premises and it won't take as long," she added.
Humaid Al Qutami, the Minister of Education and chairman of the Federal Human Resources Authority, was supportive granting women the right to a leave of 100 unpaid days that can include her annual leave. He promised that women's organisations will be able to take part in the decision- making on such issues.
— with inputs from Mayar Raouf, Staff Reporter
Would you like to see maternity leave extended? Have you had to choose between motherhood and your career? What other issues do new mother's face?
I fully agreed to this, I hope that the goverment will take the revised of the maternity leave at least 4 - 6 months. To all the mothers and pregnant women please let us pray that the government will implement soon as possible. I am due in couple of months i hope i can avail this, it is not easy for me to send my child back home since this is my first baby.
Aehl , Sharjah, Afghanistan
Added 17:25 July 26, 2010
It would be a great help if these maternity laws will be revised. Like in my case,I delivered under cesarian section and 45 days is not enough to rest and heal my wound as well as taking care of my baby. After 45 days vacation,I go back to work and my wound is still fresh and I'm still in pain. But the most difficult part is that,I need to leave my baby to a baby sitter and hoping that she will take good care in replace of me.Now my son is already 4 years old,and until now I was still in trauma to get pregnant again and experienced the same situition before.
Anonymous, Abu dhabi, Afghanistan
Added 17:03 July 26, 2010
WISH THE LAW IS IMPLIMENTED VERY SOON, COZ WOMEN CAN TOO HAVE A BALANCE IN CAREER & FAMILY...
ANONYMOUS, dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 16:47 July 26, 2010
I agree and since I am pregnant I need to know my rights thanks
AW, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 16:29 July 26, 2010
This is a real big issue every working women in UAE is facing. This should be considered with top most priority and some immediate changes should be made. Atleast a 3 months leave should be granted or an option of working part time should be given beyond 45 days till a period of 6 months to one year as other countries have.
Vidya, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:59 July 26, 2010
Yes, I agree with you all......This law should be reconsidered.
It will be really helpful if it's become flexible.
Nita, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:33 July 26, 2010
Thanks for raising the concern, Rules have to be changed and set same for the residents and the citizens.
Rajesh, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:31 July 26, 2010
i'm glad that atleast now they think about this issue, i gave birth in feb 2010 and only got 45 days paid leave i can take more days(as my company was good enough) but with no pay, it was very tuff and as we cant bring our families more than 3 months so my family stay here only three month and after that we arrange baby sitter for baby, and in all this time till now we spend so much money till now we have credits, long thing in short that please make the flixibility with visa rules for families or baby sitters orelse pay us for long timeso we can stay with our kids and feed them .
Mrs Kanaan, dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:15 July 26, 2010
I totally agree with this one.I started leaving my daughter to the baby sitter when she is only 2months old.I need to bring her to baby sitter because i need to go back to work or else i will lose my job.i really hope that this rule will be implemented soon
Sweet, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:14 July 26, 2010
There is a dire need for changes in maternity law in UAE.45 days are just not enough for a child to be taken care of by a house keeper.A woman has to think twice before joining back a 8 hrs job or take care of her child. If breastfeeding is to be promoted the first step has to be increase in maternity leave.And it is need of the hour to apply this law to everyone.After all mothers are mothers.
Other things which can help are fllexi timing and childcare or breastfeeding rooms in offices.
Anu, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:03 July 26, 2010
Yes.Atleast it should be 60- 90 days. Awaiting the decision.
Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 15:01 July 26, 2010
I think it's not fair on the part of a lady to get only 45 days maternity leave. how a lady can come back on work only after this limited time in my country Pakistan it's 3 months leave which is good enough. This is Islamic country and rules like this is strange.
I request UAE government to please revise this.
Mariam Jamal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 14:50 July 26, 2010
Extending maternity leave would be fantastic. I didn't know it had ever been any different. It's wrong that it was reduced in 2007 - I wonder what the reasons were behind it??
Not all couples are rich and can afford for the woman to pack in work as soon as she gets preggers. Also, not all women want that. I know lots of successful women in work who have children.
Come on Dubai - at least let's go back to pre-2007 when we'd get a couple of months to sort ourselves out after the birth, and not have to worry about putting a one-month-old baby in nursery!
Mrs B, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 14:03 July 26, 2010
Its very good move, My wife is due for delivery in next month.hope it will be in force at earliest.it will be healthy solution for new born baby.
Karan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 13:31 July 26, 2010
I am 17 weeks pregnant at the moment and still no one knows in my office.
To be honest I don't dare to mention my pregnancy because I m afraid to get fired and not being paid even for that 45 days maternity leave!
I hope that Government come up with a solution ASAP before many women give up on having child to save their careers
Sara, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 12:56 July 26, 2010
I think this is a valid concern that has been brought up. Besides the practical reasons for extending the maternity leave there is also the emotional bond which needs to be established between mother, child and father.
I hope this will lead to changes in the regulations and that it will also demand support from companies.
c, Dubai, Afghanistan
Added 12:34 July 26, 2010
We should take care of next generation. So every mothers should get at leat six month full time paid leave. Becouse untill six months no child can eat any other food . Its good to promote the breast feeding.
Its a good suggestion.
Robin Thomas, Abudhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 12:27 July 26, 2010
I appreciate the move for revising maternity leave. First thing in the interview they ask are you married if so how many children, if no children then will you conceive shortly etc. 3yrs back i have joined the company on the basis or the trust that i would not get pregnant for 3yrs. And also i agree we definitely need minimum of 3months to 6months for a mother to adjust and take care of the child. In all other parts of Europe they give 6months paid leave and after that 6months unpaid leave for mothers. Most difficult part is we cant bring our parents more than 3months on visit visa for this purpose. we feel safe for the child to stay with grandparents to learn the culture and develop themselves. And to hire a servant is pretty expensive, nor we can bring anyone from the home country as its also expensive. We all hope the authorities take a rite decession which will benefit all the mothers.
Dupakuntla, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 12:22 July 26, 2010
it should be considered
Mr. as, Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan
Added 12:17 July 26, 2010
it is very important for a lady to have proper rest after giving birth to a baby
and am not agreeing with the point that women should stay home to raise babies with out earning and thats not only her responsbility.
but that will be very great if the extension of maternity leave happens very soon (60-100)
arya rajeev, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Added 11:58 July 26, 2010
I totally agreed with Dr. Amal's comment on revising the maternity leave law. While the DHA is highly promoting breastfeeding to newborn, however, the current rules does not compromise to the actual situation with only 45 days maternity leaves. Doctors and nurses had advised that babies should be on breastfeeding minimum a year. I do not think that working mothers will be able to follow through with the current law and that is why we have seen the maternity leaves law from other countries are varied. With nowadays standard of living and lifestyle, most mothers will choose to work. I am glad that women nowadays are educated and playing a major roles in most companies. However, due to the restriction of rules, sacrifices of a mother such as feeding babies from the bottles since early age will take place. Due to this, most babies will face some health issue. I think that most Companies should accept positively by changing of maternity leave rules. A compassionate company in returns of loyalty and committed staff towards their work.
Serena, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 11:54 July 26, 2010
Yes, the maternity leave has to be definitely increased. I am a mother of two kids. For both my pregnancies, I worked till the last day before my deleivery, so that I could utilise all my leave after the baby was born. I had to go through a lot of struggle and hardships due to this. I am sure many women out there are undergoing or had the same situation as me.
A positive revision of the leave will be a big relief for the rising number of women who aspires to have a career as well as a family.
SS, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 11:52 July 26, 2010
This is a very real problem which needs to be addressed. It is about time that such a review is done. In my country, we have 3 months of paid maternity leave with an option to combine it with annual leave. It then boils down to a choice between a career and a child which is unfair. Also an increase in paternity leave is welcome. Fathers need to get involved in the birth of their children as well.
Janice Baptista, Dubai, India
Added 10:59 July 26, 2010
It’s about time someone recognized that 45 calendar days for a mother to nurse her new born child is simply not enough and in fact quite bad compared to maternity leave policies in other Middle East countries. This really needs to be revised asap as it affects so many women here.
Debbie , Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:55 July 26, 2010
Male workforce should be increased to overcome this problem. Men should work and women should stay at home to raise children. Well raised children mean good nation.
Riffat, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:32 July 26, 2010
I am a victim of bias at work place only because I had to request the concerned people to allow me to go and feed my baby who was only 4 months old. they only agreed to let me go for feeding the baby after acknowledging from me that i would not be considered for any promotion as they are "offering me a help" by allowing the time to feed the baby. i used to be constantly called up for trifle issues at office in the only one hour break i take for feeding which resulted in triggering a lot of tension for me as i never could feed the baby in peace. However, the plight of another one of my colleague was too heartbreaking . she was in her fourth month of pregnancy and had constant morning sickness which rederd her often too tired which forced her to rest often. however, very ironically our supervisor - a mother of two warned her that she would be terminated if "this is repeated". in 2006, when the option of when the introduction of nurseries was announced i was one among the hundreds of mothers who had whole-heartedly supported the move and wrote to the authorities outlining our plight. i too support Ms. Lloyd's suggestion of implementing both the proposals of extension of maternity leave and having nurseries at work place.
Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:28 July 26, 2010
I am glad by the intiative taken by Dr.Amal and hope instead of spending time on discussion on table,it is implemented soon.
with 45 days of maternity leave..delivered moms are left only with two choices..either quit d job or with hard hearted leave d child in hands of nursery or caretaker..and without a job very difficult to survive in UAE..only rents have gone done..not d cost of living.
Hoping to see ammended law soon
PS, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:25 July 26, 2010
I am very glad to here that somebody is working for this I am facing this situation now. After my delivery I got 45 days paid leave only. I extended my leave 30 days more that was unpaid. Now I am breast feeding my baby only night. My baby is always getting sick. Many times I request the company to reduce my timing as I am working now 6:30 to 5:30 in a construction company. Pls make sure that the rule should have an effect on the pvt. Company also.
Mrs. R., Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:21 July 26, 2010
As a new mother to a premature child, i wish that the law regarding granting longer maternity leave for premature birth or birth of a mentally/physically challenge children will push through as well as the other proposed law. I myself suffer as I need to go back to work after 45 days while my son still need a special care from both his parents. As a result, I try to leave the office one hour before the end of the office hour (I didnt take my lunch break) but still the company deduct 26 hours from my salary. Because of the situation, we decided to send our child to our home country to be able to have a proper check ups and attention. It is so hard to be parted to your new born espcially to your first child. I hope this law will also apply for expat like me since we all have the same needs.
Rachel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:14 July 26, 2010
A change in the maternity leave laws is very much required. It will be helpful if the law permits a woman to go on unpaid leave for atleast a year, keeping her job secure. This is the practice followed in most countries.
Anon, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 10:06 July 26, 2010
it would be a great disicion,if they extend the leave
Vibin, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:59 July 26, 2010
God bless her for bringing up this issue. 45 days is too less to leave a newborn child in someone else's care. It was torture to return to work in 45 days after delivery. It is just not fair when worldover this issue is given its due importance.
Tamanna, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:58 July 26, 2010
Sheer Blessing if this rule works. No longer people are going to worry about their new borns. Hope it is implemented very soon.
Sakina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:39 July 26, 2010
I have been dettered by the maternity laws of the country to have children. For me its a huge responsiblity and juggling working with a new born is truly beyond normal human capacities. I have freinds who have had a tough time balancing being parents and career oriented individuals. We had heard of the nursery at work option being available, however even the high profile company i work for has not enforced this. this idea was awaited by my collegues, both fathers and mothers alike, who would rather prefer a nursery close to them than have to look for the most resonable option of daycare which might mean their kids would be far away from them.
bottom line: Change in the rule would defintely encourage women to have children.
Dhannya Paul, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:37 July 26, 2010
Yes I fully agree with what Dr Amal Al Qubaisi says ,as iam a working woman and pregnant and iam facing a lot of difficulties and worried about the coming period after delivery ,as i dont want to depend on baby sitter for child's upbringing.So iam kinda worried...I hope uae govt can change rules....
Husna, Ajman, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:33 July 26, 2010
Very much welcome this move as it is absolutely necessary as mentioned, Women require more days of leave post delivery as well Paternal leave should also be increased. Really appreciate the move.
Arun, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:32 July 26, 2010
I am mother of a 4 months baby; my pregnancy and delivery made me stressed due to lack of support at office and home. Not only my health was affected but I was also mentally drained with continuous thoughts of keeping my job and taking care of baby by arranging a permanent maid. For my next baby, inshallah, I will defintely quit job or negotiate for more leave.
Mehreen Arshi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:19 July 26, 2010
It would be very great if this proposal comes to effect at the earliest. only people who undergo such situations understand what it is to deal with such situations.
Syed Kareem, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:18 July 26, 2010
I am glad that somebody is working on this issue. I faced the same situation last year when I was pregnant. I came to know from my friends that in Europe and Canada, the maternity leaves are 1 year paid. And here we only get 45 days. I suppose who ever is working on this law, will consider expats as well. 45 days is simple unjustice, as a result many of the mothers are forced not to feed their babies, because at times its simply impossible to go home and then come back.
Ahmereen, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 09:14 July 26, 2010
Extension of maternity leave will be a blessing! And nurseries at work premises is the best way to solve parents present problems. Implement these 2 proposals.
Lloyd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 08:49 July 26, 2010
i agree and will support this maternity leave law...not only women is bother by this kind of situation but men as well.
as part of our growth, it is normal / woman should undergo this situation - "being pregnant" as part to have her own family.
everybody wants to have their own family, a better life...and a supportive community is a BIG help to easily attain it =)
vEn, DXB, Afghanistan
Added 08:29 July 26, 2010
Yes, the maternity leave has to definitely be increased. I am a mother of two kids. For both my pregnancies, I worked till the last day before my deleivery, so that I could utilise all my leave after the baby was born. I had to go through a lot of struggle and hardships due to this. I am sure many women out there are undergoing or had the same situation as me.
A positive revision of the leave will be a big relief for the rising number of women who aspires to have a career as well as a family.
SS, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Added 07:46 July 26, 2010
I think it wud be an excellent suggestion to give women at least 2 months paid leave plus two months leave at half salary and two months unpaid leave, giving her a total of 6 months leave, that would allow proper time for the child to bond with her mother, and also allowing the child to be well breast fed and taken care of. this would also allow the woman to fully recuperate after child birth.
DENNIS ARIMPUR, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates
Added 05:50 July 26, 2010
It is good idea to have nurserrie at least so that the mother can feed the baby and also to take care..good suggestion to give leave minimum maternity leave 100 days