UAE labour law: 60-day maternity leave for women working in private sector

UAE labour law: 60-day maternity leave for women working in private sector

The decree-law, which will take effect from Feb.2, 2022 and replaces the previous decree, which had been in existence since 1980

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a federal decree law no. 33 for 2021 regulating labour relations.

The decree-law, which will take effect from Feb.2, 2022 and replaces the previous decree, which had been in existence since 1980, will apply to all UAE private sector establishments and employees except domestic workers.

Under the new law, which will be effective from Feb.2, 2022, working women in the private sector will be entitled to a maternity leave of 45 days on full pay plus 15 more days at 50 per cent pay.

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Once the basic maternity leave is used up, a working woman may take a further 45 continuous or intermittent days without pay, if her child is unwell or if she has an illness resulting from pregnancy or childbirth, whereby she is unable to return to her work.

However, the sickness must be proved with a medical certificate issued by a medical authority and the period in question will not be included in the end of service gratuity in accordance with the laws in force.

The new law stipulates that a working woman is entitled to her maternity leave in the event of a still birth at any point from six months of the pregnancy onwards, no matter if the baby is born alive or dead at any point within the maternity leave period.

Besides, if a baby is born with a disability or disease, the mother can take further leave of 30 days with full pay after using up her basic maternity leave, and this can be extended for a period of 30 days without pay.

The new law also protects working women in the private sector from being sacked because they are pregnant. Article 30.8 in the new law stipulates that it is not allowed to terminate the service of a working woman or give her a warning because of pregnancy, of obtaining maternity leave, or of her absence from work in accordance with the provisions of this article.

Once a woman returns from her maternity leave, she will be entitled to one or two rest periods per day to breastfeed her child as long as the duration of the two periods does not exceed an hour. This allowance will last until the baby is six months old.

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