The mother of all bad policies
Kipp doesn’t think much of UAE’s latest record. If you haven’t heard, this country offers the shortest maternity leave for its workforce IN THE WORLD.
October 25, 2010 4:43 by Eva Fernandes
Emirates 24/7 has reported statistics from the United Nations which reveal the UAE to have the lowest amount of 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.
As if to provide some kind of consolation over the statistic, Emirates 24/7 notes that the majority of GCC countries are not far behind the UAE’s awful maternity leave record: “Bahrain and Qatar laws allow only 45 and 50 days leave, respectively, while Saudi women can be granted 10-week leave,” it bleats. In fact, it points out that only 85 countries do meet with the international standard for maternity leave.
Having geographic neighbors as company in the list of the world’s worst maternity providers does not lessen the severity of the issue. For a country that boasts about its efforts to empower women, not to mention the fact that nearly half (49.3 percent) of its workforce is women, offering women only 45 days is beyond disgraceful. Having such a short maternity leave seems to highlight the kind of choice feminists have been campaigning against for years—the forced choice between being a career woman and a mother.
What could an alternative look like? Sweden offers its parent’s 480 days of parental leave; with two of the thirteen months reserved for paternal leave. In fact Sweden tops the list as the country that offers the longest maternity.
Though it may seem like a dream come true for potential parents, Kipp can understand that a thirteen month long maternity leave is a nightmare for employers. Would it be a welcome change in the UAE? Probably not, and many feel that having longer and more expensive maternity leave will essentially make hiring women a lot less attractive and may result in gender-bias employment.
So while we do think the UAE could do with considering some of the social-engineering policies of Scandinavian states, for now we’d just settle for abiding by the international standard of 14 weeks for new mothers.