Dubai: Did you just find out that you are about to have a baby? Congratulations! If you are a working professional, one of the first questions that may come to your mind is: “How long will my maternity or paternity leave be for?”
If you are working in the private sector in the country, the holiday you are entitled to as a new mum or dad are governed by Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the regulation of labour relations, which came into effect earlier this year, replacing the previous Labour Law.
Here is what the law states about maternity and paternity leaves for private sector employees.
Maternity leave in the new UAE Labour Law
While earlier the maternity leave stipulated was for 45 days, the new Labour Law has extended the maternity leave to 60 days. However, while the first 45 days’ leave is on full pay, the employee is entitled to half pay for the next 15 days.
Women can avail of this leave even before they have given birth, with female employees eligible for the maternity leave “at any time starting from the last day of the month preceding the month of delivery.”
The laws around maternity leaves are mentioned in Article 30 of the law.
a. The first 45 days with full pay.
b. The next 15 days with half pay.
2. A female worker who exhausts her maternity leave may be absent from work without pay for no more than 45 successive or interrupted days, if such absence is due to illness occurring to her or her child as a result of pregnancy or delivery and preventing her to report to work. Such illness shall be proved by a medical certificate issued by the medical institution, and such period shall not be counted in the period of service for which the female worker is entitled to severance pay or subscription to the pension system according to the legislation in force in the UAE.
3. A female worker shall be entitled to the maternity leave stated in paragraph (1) above, if delivery takes place after six months of pregnancy or above, whether the child is stillborn or born alive then passed away.
4. A female worker who delivers a sick child or a child with special needs ‘People of Determination’ whose health condition requires a continuous escort based on a medical report from the medical institution, shall be entitled to 30 days' leave with full pay, commencing from the expiry of the maternity leave. Such period can be extended for another 30 days.
5. The employer shall grant the female worker a maternity leave where she requests so at any time starting from the last day of the month preceding the month of delivery, as evidenced by a certificate from the medical institution.
6. A female worker obtaining the maternity leave or the absence from work referred to in this Article shall not lose her right to other leaves.
7. If a female worker works for another employer during the period of leave stated in this Article, her employer may deprive her of her wage for the period of leave, or recover any wages paid to her.
8. It shall not be permissible to terminate, or give notice to a female worker by reason of pregnancy or for having obtained maternity leave or absence from work pursuant to the provisions of this Article.
9. A female worker shall be entitled, after reporting back to work from maternity leave and for a period not exceeding six months following the date of delivery, to one or two breaks per day to nurse her child, provided that such period does not exceed one hour.
Paternity leave in the new UAE Labour Law
While Article 30 of the law covers details of a female worker’s rights during maternity leaves, Article 32 – titled ‘other leaves’ – also covers Paternal leave, which can be availed by both the father or mother of a child. Here is a detailed look at what the Article states:
Article 32, Clause 1 (b)
1. A worker shall be entitled to paid leave in the following cases:
b. Paternal leave for five working days for the worker (father or mother) who had a child, in order to take care of his child. Such leave shall be taken successively or otherwise during the period of six months following the date of birth of the child.