Dubai: Dubai Government employees will get three-month paid maternity leave as per a new policy approved on Wednesday.
The policy, approved by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, will come into effect from March 1.
The policy will benefit employees of all government entities covered by Dubai Government Human Resources Law, an official statement said.
Shaikh Hamdan said the government aims to help employees support their families as this will have a positive impact on them. “As part of our efforts to support different sections of society, and provide various kinds of support for families, we have approved the extension of the maternity leave for employees of Dubai Government to three months. This will help employees have closer family bonds, and enhance their sense of family stability. It will also help working mothers to play their crucial roles in the family more effectively and help ensure the proper upbringing of the individual,” he said.
“In this amendment of the maternity leave, we focused on the comfort of working mothers and the need for legislation that meets their need for family-work balance. We have also taken into consideration the need to provide working mothers enough time to take care of their new born babies. This is particularly important in the case of babies that have special needs, since the parents may need to provide a higher degree of care and follow up. The integration of individuals with special needs into society is one of the top priorities of the Government of Dubai. It is a process that starts prior to birth,” he said.
“The amendments to the maternity leave is a token of our appreciation for the efforts of working mothers in contributing to the well-being of the country, family and society. We are offering working mothers the opportunity to achieve their professional ambitions in a conducive environment that attracts talented and productive people and helps enhance the competitiveness of women in the job market.”
“The approval of the amendments to the maternity leave highlights the keenness of Dubai Government to provide employees with a supportive work environment,” said Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary-General of the Executive Council. “The new policy took into consideration the different cases that may affect working mothers, including the delivery of babies with special needs and abortion cases, which distinguish the Dubai government’s maternity leave from those in other parts of the world. This will increase the competitiveness of Dubai and help achieve Dubai’s 2021 strategy.”
Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, chairman of the Commission for Social Development at the Executive Council, also praised the role of the various sectoral commissions to support the Executive Council. “Maternity leave has always been a priority that we discussed during the meetings of the commission for social development, and we aimed to develop a policy that supports working women.”
Amal Bin Adi, Director-General of Dubai Government Human Resources, also praised the amendment as it will further empower women, boost the participation of women in the workplace and help them achieve a healthy work-life balance.
The amendment to the Dubai Government maternity leave will extend compulsory fully paid maternity leave to three months for female employee. It is also permitted to add annual leave and unpaid leave to the maternity leave, with the condition that it does not exceed 120 days.
The new policy extends breast-feeding period to two hours instead of one hour effective from the date of the end of the maternity leave for a period of one year from the date of the baby’s birth. It can be taken either at the beginning or towards the end of working hours, and will be fully paid hours. This will be reduced to one hour during Ramadan.
It includes a clause for abortion and miscarriage cases. Female employees experiencing abortion or miscarriage will receive sick leave upon presentation of a sick leave note from an authorised doctor.
The policy includes special care paid leave to a female employee who has delivered a baby with special needs, which has to be certified by the official medical commission.
In September, 2016, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a law giving government employees in Abu Dhabi a three-month paid maternity leave, and a three-day paternity leave. The law also gives Emirati working women the right to leave two hours early for one year from the day of giving birth.
Also His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, issued a decree in November 2016, increasing the total period of maternity leave in Sharjah to 120 days (comprising 90 paid and 30 unpaid days).
Joining the move, several companies in the private sector also announced extended maternity leave periods last year, with Omnicom Media Group Middle East and North Africa increasing their leave period to 90 days.