What are your rights as a working mother in the UAE? Here's what you should know
21 October 2019| Last updated on 22 October 2019
A look at the important aspects of the law related to working mums in the UAE
Whether you're a new mum returning to your career post-delivery, or a veteran mother working in the country, you are entitled to certain benefits as per the UAE law. However much you're a boss at your job, there are inevitable things that come with being a mother and a career woman. The government had set laws that can help make your work and family life easier.
Here are the UAE workplace rights every working mother must know...
How long is maternity leave in UAE
According to Article 30 of the UAE Federal Law No.8 of 1980, private sector pregnant mothers and new mums are entitled to 45 days of paid maternity leave provided that they completed at least a year of employment with the current employer. If less than a year, they may still have maternity leave but at half of the pay.
The law itself states: "A female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement, on condition that she has been in her employer's service for a continuous period of not less than one year. If she has not completed the aforesaid period of service, she shall be entitled to maternity leave with half pay."
At the end of maternity leave, private sector mothers have the right to extend maternity leave, with a maximum of 10 days without pay. This can be continuous or broken down into different days, but a medical certificate from a licensed health provider is mandatory.
As for public sector employees in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and other emirates, women are given 90 days of paid maternity leave.
For those in Sharjah, the total maternity leave is for 120 days - 90 days paid leave and 30 days unpaid leave.
Female employees can also start her maternity leave 30 days before the expected due date, on the condition that the leave is not interrupted and must be taken continuously.
How long can you be absent from work after delivery
without pay for a maximum of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days - that is, if she has an illness that is preventing her from resuming work. Public sector mums can combine maternity leave, annual leave, and leave without pay for a maximum of 120 days.
The illness must be confirmed with a medical certificate issued by a proper health authority in the UAE.
Are the weekends or UAE holidays counted for maternity leave
Yes, the weekends and UAE public holidays are counted. Maternity leave follows calendar days, not working days.
Is paid maternity leave the gross salary
Yes, the pay that working mothers are entitled to during paid maternity leave is the gross salary which includes both the basic salary and allowances.
In some UAE private companies, women can leave 1-2 hours early for a few months up to a year after the baby is born.
For mothers working for government entities and other public sector organisations, you can leave work an hour to two early.
Working mums who just returned after giving birth are entitled to 2 hours break per day for breastfeeding until their newborn's first birthday. No deduction on pay can be made by your employer during these breaks as they are counted as part of the working hours.
If a mother works in any of the Dubai Government entities and the total number of children of all female employees within the organisation is over 20, it's mandatory for the entity to establish a children's nursery within the building for the employees' kids.
Miscarriage and childcare leave
If a female employee suffered a miscarriage before 24 weeks of pregnancy, they are entitled to sick leave upon providing a medical report.
In the case of a stillbirth or miscarriage after 24 weeks of pregnancy, the female employee is entitled to 60 days of maternity leave once she provides an approved medical report.
A working mum who gave birth to a baby with a disability is entitled to one year of childcare leave. This is renewable for a maximum of three years, depending on the approved medical report of the baby and approval of a government official.
For public sector employees who are in any of the above cases, the female employee will only receive her basic salary.
Supporting a child in UAE
Solo working mums in the UAE, whether by divorce, deceased spouse, or married but working in separate places, are allowed to bring and raise their child in the UAE. This requires a minimum salary of AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 with accommodation, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the other parent, divorce certificate, or death certificate of spouse (if deceased).