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UAE maternity leave needs addressing

UAE maternity leave needs addressing

Compared to other countries, it is paltry. The UAE law on maternity leave needs addressing, thinks Sam Potter, and not just to boost the Emirati population.

July 29, 2010 2:26 by

Which means that, as well as being bad for the women, the law is not very helpful to businesses. When an employee leaves to give birth, and insists she will return, a company has no choice but to maintain her salary while at the same time (most likely) managing without her. It is probably only at the end of her maternity leave, after she has secured her wages, that they find she is not coming back. Then, and only then, does the company start a possibly lengthy, possibly costly search for a replacement. If a woman was given more flexible options and more time, isn’t it more likely she will return to work, thus saving the company this ordeal?

Let’s look for a second at the other side of the coin. What if a mother does go back to work after 45 days? Is this better for the business? Possibly. Is it better for the child, now in the care of someone other than its mother? Almost certainly not. Is it better for the mother, forced away from her child after only six weeks? Again, almost certainly not.

Over the longer term, these unfair laws could reduce female participation in the workforce, which would be a tragedy. It could significantly cut down not only the general people-power in industry but could also deny it the skills that so many of these female employees have to offer.

I understand the UAE government has a natural inclination towards business interests, and it believes that the current law reduces the burden of maternity on companies. But pursuing the business interest at the cost of society’s interest, especially when the benefits to companies are debatable, is bad for everyone.

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  1. Randa on August 1, 2010 3:15 pm

    45 days ia not enough. Imagine a C-Section where the recovery is 42 days, leaving the mother 3 days to start enjoying motherhood. I know a woman who had to resign for 6 months and then join the company again. She did this twice in a span of 4 years! She’s lucky she got her job back.

  2. Andrew on August 2, 2010 7:01 am

    A colleague of mine became pregnant last year within the 12 month statutory minimum period stipulated for paid maternity leave. Whilst not qualifying for this she offered to take a period of unpaid leave, to return after 6 months.

    The management and HR refused this, only to offer her the chance to reapply for her job when she was ready. Leaving aside the fact that it’s insulting to her, we work in an industry where turnover of employee is high due to rapid development and consequent head hunting. To willingly forego talent in a situation that will cost you nothing is truly mindboggling.

  3. Lu on August 2, 2010 7:17 am

    while the world moves towards longer maternity leave and paternity leave, the UAE cannot cut down on it.
    instead of only thinking about companies, the law makers must put themselves in the shoes of the new parents. who came up with this law anyway? obviously not a parent!!

    the uae has proven to be a great place to bring up children, this short maternity leave should not get in the way! change the law!

  4. Miss Anne Thropic on August 2, 2010 9:22 am

    With employers deciding what to do about pregnant employees seemingly on a whim, it is little wonder a lot of women try and hold off on even telling their boss they are pregnant. Women should not be scared to start families for fear of losing their livelihoods. It all makes me think very hard about whether I would ever raise kids here.


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