Maternity laws in the UAE: All you need to know
Find out whether local laws permit extended leave after the birth of a child.
Question: I work in a company in Sharjah. I am three months pregnant. Can you explain the maternity laws in the UAE? Is there any way I can get an extended maternity break without losing my job? I would want to take a year off, ideally. Please advise.
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you are employed in a company based in the Emirate of Sharjah, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’) are applicable.
In the UAE, an employed woman is eligible for maternity leave with full salary of 45 days if she has completed one year of employment with her employer. She is eligible for half salary for such period if she has not completed one year of employment.
The maternity leave of 45 days can be availed before or after delivery with full salary and, thereafter, without salary for up to 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days.
This is in accordance with Article 30 of the Employment Law, which states: “A working woman is entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the time before and after delivery, provided that her continuous period of service with the employer should not be less than a year. But if a working woman has not completed the said period, the maternity leave shall be with half pay.
“A working woman, on the expiry of the maternity leave, may discontinue work without pay for a maximum period of 100 consecutive or intermittent days if such absence is due to illness which does not enable her to resume work. Such illness shall be evidenced by a medical certificate issued by a medical authority attested by the competent health authority or endorsed by such authorities to the effect that the illness resulted from pregnancy or delivery.
“Leave provided for in the preceding two paragraphs shall not be computed as part of other leave.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, you may avail 45 days of normal maternity leave. Upon its expiry, you may avail another 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days of leave on maternity grounds.
However, the Employment Law is silent related to long-term maternity leave rights of a female employee in the UAE other than the maternity leave mentioned in Article 30. The employer and the employee may mutually agree on additional maternity leave other than those mentioned in the Employment Law. However, it is at the discretion of the employer to grant the additional leave.
Therefore, you may make a special request to your employer in writing to grant you extended maternity leave for a year. For further clarifications on this matter, you may approach a legal counsel in the UAE.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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