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Women welcome amended maternity leave

International Women’s Day has brought much joy to expectant mothers with increased maternity leave for private sector workers

  • Alia Al Buainain, Emirati, during an interview yesterday in Abu Dhabi, on the occasion of International WomenImage Credit:
  • Lisa Fraser of USA during an interview yesterday in Abu Dhabi, on the occasion of International Women's Image Credit:

Priyanka Wade, India, mom-blogger

“Maternity leave is the only time leave becomes significant in a women’s life. It’s probably the most important time in her life and it takes some adjusting to get used to this new status, especially if it’s first-time motherhood. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they are right — but unfortunately, most expats in Dubai don’t have family around, so its just the mother, her partner and a few friends who help out, so it makes maternity leave even more important. I think the leave period [of around 45 days in the private sector] is just enough for a woman to heal, especially if she has had a C-section. By the time you have adjusted to it, the 45 days would have passed and it’s time to get back to work again. Having said that, there are significant changes taking place in the UAE and the new extensions of maternity leave is welcome.”

Jasmin Masalunga-Chozas, mother of one

“While I was pregnant last year, I thought our maternity leave was just 45 days. But when I asked our HR, I was told that the company had changed it to 60 days three years ago, which made me really happy. I also took my annual vacation leave along with my maternity that gave me a total of 100 days to be with my firstborn. I gave birth on November 1 and joined work on February 11. I also appreciate the company’s policy that gives us one hour to nurse at work, which for me meant I could come home one hour early to be with my daughter for the next 18 months. Having a long maternity leave is very important for mums and their babies. I thank God I am blessed to have this kind of leave quota to be with my daughter.”

Lisa Fraser, 38, American instructor at a university in the UAE

“Sufficient maternity leave is very important for working women. It is their right. A 45-day maternity leave for private sector in the UAE is not enough. Women should get at least three months. But I appreciate the fact that the UAE government offers three-month maternity leave to public sector women employees.

Alla Al Buainain, 26, Emirati government employee

“Maternity leave is important for [working women] because it is their right to be a mother. Motherhood does not affect their work performance. Regarding the extension of maternity leave, I think it depends on the health condition of the woman. However, four to five months would be good for mother and baby.”