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Maternity Leave Guaranteed Under the UAE Labour Code Irrespective of Contract Terms

After using maternity leave, a female worker can take up to 45 additional days without pay

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 16, 2024, 13:22:40


maternity leave, human rights, women, uae, government

Maternity leave is a critical component of employment, essential for ensuring the well-being of female workers during and after pregnancy.

The UAE Labour Law prioritises workers' rights, particularly focusing on the welfare of female employees during maternity.

Does the UAE Labour Law Guarantee Maternity Leave?

Yes, the UAE labour law guarantees maternity leave for female employees https://thelawreporters.com/the-legality-of-maternity-laws-in-uae/  even if it is not explicitly included in their employment contracts.

Articles 30 and 65 of Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 clearly define the entitlements for female workers.

This legal framework transcends contractual agreements, creating a protective and supportive environment for female workers in the UAE.

Article 30 – Maternity Leave

Female workers are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave, with the first 45 days at full pay and the next 15 days at half pay.

After using maternity leave, a female worker can take up to 45 additional days without pay due to pregnancy or childbirth-related illness, provided she has a medical certificate.

Maternity leave is applicable if childbirth occurs after six months of pregnancy, regardless of the fetus's condition.

If a female worker gives birth to a sick or disabled child, she is entitled to an additional 30 days of leave with full pay and may extend this for another 30 days without pay.

A female worker can request maternity leave at any time from the last day of the month preceding the expected month of delivery, supported by a medical certificate.

The law prohibits termination or warning of termination due to pregnancy, maternity leave, or absence from work as stipulated in Article 30.

Upon returning from maternity leave, a female worker is entitled to one or two daily rest periods for breastfeeding, each not exceeding one hour, for up to six months from the date of delivery.

Article 65 – Nullification of Contrary Conditions

Article 65(3) emphasises the nullification of any conditions that contradict the Decree Law, deeming them null and void unless they are more beneficial to the worker.

Waivers or reconciliations that violate the Decree-Law are also considered null and void.

Article 65 safeguards workers' rights, ensuring that the Decree-Law does not override any additional rights granted under other legislations, agreements, approvals, systems, or employment contracts.

This ensures that workers benefit from more advantageous conditions than the minimum standards set by the Decree Law, promoting fairness and well-being.

Maternity Leave in the Federal Government

As per Article 19 of Federal Decree-Law No. 49 of 2022 on Human Resources Law in the Federal Government, female employees in permanent positions are entitled to three months of maternity leave with full salary.

After returning to work, for six months, female employees are entitled to two hours of reduced working hours daily, either at the beginning or end of the workday, to nurse their child. These breaks are fully paid.

Article 20 also grants female employees five working days of fully paid parental leave, which can be taken continuously or intermittently within six months of the child's birth.

Male employees are also entitled to this leave. Maternity leave cannot be combined with leave without pay.

Maternity Leave in Abu Dhabi

Female employees are entitled to three months of fully paid maternity leave. Upon returning, they are entitled to two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to nurse their child. Male employees receive three days of paternity leave.

Maternity Leave in Dubai Government

Decree No. 14 of 2017 regulates maternity, miscarriage, stillbirth and childcare leave for female employees in the Dubai Government.

Female employees receive 90 days of maternity leave from the delivery date and can apply for maternity leave up to 30 days before the expected delivery date.

Annual leave and unpaid leave can be added to maternity leave, totalling up to 120 days.

For one year after the baby’s birth, mothers are entitled to two hours of reduced working hours daily for nursing, either at the beginning or end of the workday. There is no nursing break during Ramadan.

If a female employee gives birth to a child with special needs, she is granted childcare leave until the child turns one-year-old.

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

Dubai Government Human Resources Department issued maternity guidelines for Dubai Government employees, which include medical tips for pregnant employees and information on their rights and duties as provided by Decree No. 14 of 2017.

Maternity Leave in Sharjah Government

Since a local decree in 2016, female employees in the Sharjah Government are entitled to 120 days of maternity leave, including 90 days of paid leave and 30 days of unpaid leave.

The decree allows adding annual leave to maternity leave and grants new mothers two hours for nursing their child for six months.

Maternity Leave in Ras Al Khaimah Government

In November 2016, the Ras Al Khaimah Government extended maternity leave to 90 days of paid leave. Previously, in 2015, the nursing period was extended to one year from the baby's birth.

Female employees in the UAE are guaranteed maternity leave under the Labour Code https://thelawreporters.com/uae-maternity-and-paternity-leave-all-you-need-to-know/ , regardless of whether it is explicitly stated in their employment contracts.

This legal protection ensures that female employees can take necessary time off during pregnancy and childbirth without fear of contractual limitations.

Employers must comply with these regulations to foster a workplace that respects and upholds the rights of all employees.

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