After your 45 days of paid maternity leave is over, you are able to extend your leave by up to 100 days of unpaid leave. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: About to have a baby? Employees in the UAE are entitled to days off as parental leave, and women are also provided with additional breaks during working hours to nurse their children. The numbers of days you can avail for parental leave depends on whether you work in the private or government sector.

Here is all you need to know about maternity and paternity leave in the UAE.

Private sector

Maternity leave

Articles 30 and 31 of the UAE Labour Law provide the regulations around maternity leaves and nursing mothers. According to Article 30 of the UAE Labour Law, a working woman is entitled to a maternity leave of 45 days 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.

This year, Federal Decree Law no. 6 was announced, amending some provisions of the regulation on labour relations, under which male and female private sector employees are given a paid parental leave for five working days to look after their babies, effective from the baby’s date of birth until he or she is six months old. This, in effect, increases the total number of days a woman can take maternity leave to 50 working days.

Additional days of leave

Article 30 of the UAE Labour Law also provides regulations for when a working mother may need to be absent from work due to health-related complications, allowing for 100 additional days of leave without pay, provided it is applied for with the necessary medical certificates.

“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 is confirmed by a medical certificate issued by the medical service specified by the competent health authority or if the latter authority confirms that the illness was caused by the women’s work of confinement. The leave provided for in the preceding two paragraphs, shall not be deducted from other periods of leave”.

Nursing mothers

Article 31 of the UAE Labour Law states that a 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,” the article states.

Paternity leave

As mentioned earlier, Federal Decree Law no. 6 announced in 2020 allows male employees in the private sector to also avail of five days’ leave after the birth of their child.

It is effective from the baby’s date of birth until he is six months old, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Government sector

Female employees in a permanent position in the federal government are entitled to 90 days’ maternity leave and male employees are entitled to 3 days’ paternity leave. Leaves vary for the employees of local governments.

Maternity and paternity leave in Abu Dhabi

Women 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.

Men are entitled to three days' paternity leave.

Maternity and paternity leave in Dubai Government

Maternity leave in Dubai Government is regulated by Decree No. 14 of 2017 Concerning Maternity, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Childcare Leave for Female Employees of the Government of Dubai.

The decree grants female employee 90 days of maternity leave starting from the delivery date. She may also apply for her maternity leave up to 30 days prior to the expected date of delivery.

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

After resuming work and for one year from the date of the baby’s birth, the mother is entitled to two hours' reduced working hours to nurse her child, either at the beginning or at the end of the working hours. There is no nursing break for women during the month of Ramadan.

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 is one year old.

According to Dubai Government Human Resources Management Law No. 8 of 2018, men are entitled to three days of fully paid paternity leave, to be taken within one month of the birth of the child.

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.

- Information courtesy