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Maternity And Paternity Leave in The UAE

Mar 27, 2024 | Featured Posts

Paternity leave in the UAE has recently garnered significant attention as the nation strives to support families during the crucial early stages of a child’s life. The United Arab Emirates has taken progressive steps to ensure that both mothers and fathers can benefit from leave policies that allow for a healthy work-life balance. With the introduction of new laws and amendments to existing ones, the UAE is demonstrating its commitment to family welfare and gender equality.

We explain the intricacies of paternity and maternity leave in the UAE, outlining the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and application process. We also discuss the broader social implications and support systems available for working parents. We also explain the family leave policies in a country that is setting precedents in the region for parental rights.

Paternity Leave in The UAE

Family Leave Policies in UAE

In the UAE, family leave policies have been established to support you during significant life events like the birth of a child. If you’re a female employee with a permanent position within the federal government, you’re entitled to 90 days of maternity leave. This provision, outlined in Article 19 of the Federal Human Resources Law, ensures you can take this time off with full pay.

When you return to work, you’re also given the flexibility of two reduced working hours daily for six months to nurse your child. It’s important to remember that maternity leave can’t be combined with leave without pay.

If you’re a male federal government employee, you’re entitled to five days of paternity leave. You can take this leave from the day of your child’s birth up to six months afterwards. As per Article 20 of the Federal Human Resources Law, the leave can be used either continuously or intermittently within this six-month period.

The Significance of Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is a crucial aspect of family leave policies. It acknowledges the father’s role in early child-rearing and supports the concept of shared parental responsibility. The UAE has taken significant steps to incorporate paternity leave into its employment laws, recognising the importance of fathers being present during the early stages of a child’s life.

This progressive move not only promotes gender equality in parenting but also supports the family unit as a whole.

Recent Developments in Paternity & Maternity Leave Regulations In The UAE

In addition, the UAE has seen recent advancements in paternity leave regulations, reflecting a growing understanding of the importance of parental involvement in early childhood. In the private sector, the introduction of federal decree-law no. 6 for 2020 has been a landmark change. Under this new legislation, private sector male employees are now entitled to five days of paid parental leave.

Local governments within the UAE have their own regulations regarding maternity leave. For example, in Dubai, Decree No. 14 of 2017 regulates maternity leave for female employees, granting them 90 days from delivery. This leave can start up to 30 days before the expected delivery date. There’s also the option to extend the leave by combining it with annual or unpaid leave, up to 120 days.

After returning, mothers are entitled to two hours’ reduced working hours for one year from the baby’s birth to nurse their child, except during the month of Ramadan when there is no nursing break.

Special provisions are also in place for mothers of babies with special needs. They’re granted childcare leave from the end of the maternity leave until the baby reaches one year of age.

The UAE’s approach to paternity leave and maternity leave is indicative of its commitment to supporting families. These policies benefit the immediate family and contribute to the creation of a supportive and inclusive work environment.

Pregnant Woman Working In Office

Legal Framework for Paternity Leave

Federal Decrees and Labour Law Provisions

The UAE has been proactive in revising its labour laws to accommodate working parents’ needs better. The introduction of federal decree-law no. 6 for 2020 has been pivotal in balancing responsibilities between mothers and fathers. This decree-law is a testament to societal advancement and aims to enhance the attractiveness of working in the private sector for the national workforce, aiding the country’s Emiratisation efforts.

The specific provision of five working days of paid parental leave under the new article no. 74 is a pioneering development in the region, marking the UAE as a leader in this aspect. The decree law mandates that fathers are compensated in full during their leave, which is applicable even in the event of multiple births. Employers are also advised to consider requests for additional paternity leave, acknowledging that the standard five days of fully paid paternity leave may only suffice for some families.

Eligibility Criteria for Paternity Leave

To qualify for paternity leave, male employees must be employed within the private sector and take the leave within the first half-year of their child’s life. The flexibility to take this leave in parts caters to the diverse needs of families and employers.

Employees are advised to notify their employers a few days before the expected birth date. This foresight and effective communication with colleagues are key to ensuring minimal disruption during the employee’s absence.

Understanding Your Rights as a Working Father

Working fathers must be aware of the rights provided by the recent labour law amendments. The provision for paternity leave is intended to facilitate fathers’ spending quality time with their newborns and alleviate the financial strain that could accompany unpaid leave. Employers are expected to outline their paternity leave policies clearly, ideally within the company’s official documents.

This clarity guarantees that fathers are well-informed about their entitlements and can plan accordingly. Employers may also offer additional support, such as remote work options or other resources beneficial during this transition. As the UAE’s labour laws continue to evolve, working fathers can anticipate a more equitable approach to balancing their professional and personal roles.

Mother With Baby

Paternity Leave Duration and Benefits

Length of Leave Granted to Fathers

In the federal sector, the duration of paternity leave is five working days, which can be taken in intervals, entitled to three days each within a half-year period from the child’s birth. Conversely, the Dubai Government Human Resources Management Law No. 8 of 2018 stipulates a shorter leave of three days for fathers, which must be utilised within the first month of the newborn’s arrival.

Compensation During Paternity Leave

Fathers in both sectors receive their full salary during their paternity leave, ensuring they can dedicate time to their newborns without financial concerns.

Comparing Public vs Private Sector Benefits

While public sector employees enjoy the flexibility of taking their leave at any point within the six-month timeframe, the private sector’s recent decree-law no. 6 for 2020 extends the same five-day paid leave to its employees, which is also available to mothers. This inclusive approach underlines the UAE’s commitment to supporting both parents in the private sector. However, Dubai International Financial Centre employees and the Abu Dhabi Global Market are subject to different regulations.

Father In Baby's Room

Applying for Paternity Leave

Step-by-Step Application Process

To apply for paternity leave, fathers should initially devise a strategy for managing their workload during their absence. This preparation should commence well in advance of the expected delivery date. After formulating a leave strategy, it is imperative to notify your employer about the impending leave to facilitate the transition of responsibilities.

Colleagues should also be briefed on the upcoming paternal leave to ensure a seamless continuation of work. Following the birth of the child, fathers must promptly confirm the commencement date of their leave, adhering to the stipulated six-month timeframe. Upon the conclusion of paternity leave, employees are expected to resume their professional responsibilities.

Documentation and Employer Notification

Fathers are required to present their child’s birth certificate to their employer as evidence of the birth and to mark the initiation of their leave period. Employers are responsible for confirming the eligibility of their employees for paternity leave and should ensure that their paternity leave policy is well-communicated and accessible, typically through inclusion in the company’s handbook or policy documents.

Common Challenges and How to Address Them

Should the standard leave duration be insufficient, employers may consider granting additional leave on an individual basis. Offering flexible work arrangements or resources for new fathers can also assist employees in their transition back to work.

It is crucial to ensure that all employees are aware of their rights and the application process for paternity leave. Employers should actively disseminate information about their paternity leave policies and assist throughout the application process, including internal communications or training sessions.

The establishment of paternity leave in the UAE underscores the nation’s commitment to gender equality and the value placed on family life. By providing paid paternity leave rules and minimising the documentation required, the UAE is leading the way in the region in supporting working fathers. Although the duration of paternity leave in the UAE may not match that of some other nations, it represents a forward-thinking approach that enhances the work-life balance for families.

Father And Mother With Newborn

Impact and Support for Fathers

Social Implications of Parental Leave Policies

The decree the late president, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued in August 2020 included paternity leave in a new amendment to the UAE’s labour laws for private sector employees. This marked a progressive shift in the region’s approach to parental rights. This legacy he created during his time as president of the UAE has been life-changing for families of working parents, and crucial in keeping up with other countries across the globe.

Balancing Work and Family Life

Fathers are usually required to have completed a certain period of service with their employer to be eligible for paternity leave. The application process is designed to be straightforward, requiring minimal documentation, such as a birth certificate or adoption papers.

However, you might face challenges when taking paternity leave. These challenges can include workplace culture, financial concerns, and the task of balancing work with family responsibilities. The duration of paternity leave in the UAE, while progressive within the region, could be much higher globally. This has sparked conversations about the potential need for further enhancements to paternity leave policies as the benefits of such leave become more widely recognised.

Resources and Support Systems Available for Fathers

To fully support fathers taking paternity leave, companies in the UAE are encouraged to communicate their paternity leave policies clearly, ensuring employees are aware of their entitlements. Beyond the statutory requirements, employers can offer additional support to fathers, such as providing resources tailored for new fathers or offering flexible work arrangements upon their return to work.

The recent changes in the UAE Labour Law, which now provides paternity leave for male employees across all sectors, are seen as a significant step towards greater gender equality and female worker empowerment. This allows fathers to spend quality time with their newborns and offer support to new mothers during a critical period; for global employers looking to attract top talent in the UAE, aligning paternity and maternity leave policies with international standards could make them more appealing as progressive workplaces.

Baby Holding Father's Hand

Embracing Family-Friendly Futures

As the UAE continues to pioneer family-friendly work policies, paternity and maternity leave stand out as pillars of its progressive approach. These provisions are more than just a legal requirement; they are a statement of the nation’s commitment to nurturing family life and gender equality in the workplace.

The UAE’s efforts to provide paid paternity leave epitomise the balance between professional and personal life that modern employees seek. For working parents across the Emirates, understanding these entitlements is key to utilising them effectively and advocating for the continuous evolution of such policies.

Employers and employees alike are encouraged to remain informed and engaged with the changing landscape of parental leave in the UAE, ensuring a supportive work environment that champions both career ambitions and family growth.

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