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Sharjah mothers granted extended maternity leave

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Executive Council also grants three days off for expecting fathers

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February 10, 2014 6:13 by



Sharjah has become the first emirate in the UAE to amend the Labour Law, as the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC) granted expecting mothers 60 days of extended maternity leave on Saturday, February 8. Previously, this length of time applied only for women working in the public sector. While it is unclear what the provision is for women who have not yet completed one year with a company, it is likely that they will be granted 60 days off at half pay, says Sara Khoja, partner at Clyde & Co.

The SEC also added a provision for expecting fathers, who are now entitled to three days paid leave, whereas the UAE Labour Law makes no mention of paternity leave.

The UAE’s maternity leave laws have been a cause for debate across the nation. According to the Labour Law in all other emirates, expecting mothers in the private sector are entitled to 45 days of paid leave if they have completed a full year with the company and those who have worked for less than a year are granted maternity leave at half pay.

“Amending the federal law is a much longer practice than on an emirate-level,” saysKhoja. When asked what impact this revision would have nationwide, she adds that “The Ministry of Labour is looking at a number of amendments” and it is unlikely that the federal law would be changed for just this aspect regarding maternity leave.

However, she points out that when it comes to the private sector, “many companies [even in other emirates] do offer more than the law states, providing paid leave for more than three months.”

Earlier in 2012, the Dubai Women’s Establishment carried out research revealing that out of the 39 countries it investigated, only eight granted women less maternity leave than the UAE. While countries, such as the US, have no national law mandating paid leave, Slovakia offers 28 weeks paid maternity leave, while Sweden gives new parents 60-weeks paid leave.

 



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