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Baby’s Day Out (at Work?)
Getting companies to provide their employees with regulated and standardized day-care center surely is something that requires government support and initiative—something we yet to see in the Emirates.
December 28, 2011 3:39 by Eva Fernandes
It really isn’t a surprise that when it comes to maternity and the workplace, the UAE leaves a lot to be desired. Late last year the United Nations revealed statistics that showed the UAE had the lowest maternity leave in the world. According to the Maternity Protection Convention 2000 of the International Labour Organization, the international standard for maternity leave is 14 weeks. The UAE offers a shameful 45 days for its working women, which is somewhere between six and seven weeks. As Kipp has noted before, having such restrictive maternity leave laws in a country which boasts of empowering women (who make up nearly half of its workforce), is truly a wrong the UAE needs to remedy.
The UAE wasn’t always so restrictive when it came to such matters. In fact up to 2007 the country had one of the best maternity leave policies: a woman was granted two months’ fully paid leave, two months of half salary leave, and two months’ unpaid leave. An incredible luxury when compared to its current policy of 45 days of paid maternity leave and 18 hours per month for lactating purposes.
Another aspect of the need for more mother-friendly initiatives was highlighted by the Arabian Child who recently conducted the National Early Childhood Development Childcare Study on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Between September and October, Arabian Child surveyed staff at about 250 nurseries; interviewed parents and policy-makers. The findings? Arabian Child found that although there are about 11,000 businesswomen in the UAE, and 40 per cent of government employees are female, about 92 per cent of the UAE’s 311 nurseries are privately owned-with only 26 sponsored by government agencies. Samia Kazi, chief operating officer of Arabian Child, an early childhood consultancy told The National: “”It’s not a private-sector project. This needs support, and heavy support, from the Government.”
That is a fine point Kazi, getting companies to provide their employees with regulated and standardised crèches surely is something that requires government support and initaitve. Now what do you think the likelihood of the UAE government stepping in and stepping up the day-care facilities available to mother at work places, are?
Getting companies to provide their employees with regulated and standardised crèches surely is something that requires government support and initiative.