Are you an expectant mom working full-time in the UAE?

Navigating the labyrinth of maternity leave regulations can be as tricky as assembling a flat-pack crib.

But don’t worry! We’ve done the legwork for you.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explain the ins and outs of maternity leave across different emirates and sectors, ensuring you’re fully prepared when your little family member arrives.

Maternal Leave For Employees In The Public Sector

Women that work for the federal government or in each of the respective governments of each emirate in the UAE generally receive longer maternity leave than women working in the private sector.

Let’s look at the different variants of maternity leave in the UAE for women in governmental institutes. 

Maternal Leave In The Federal Government 

New mothers need time to adjust to their babies and let their bodies heal after giving birth

Maternity leave in the UAE is governed by Article 53 of the Federal Law No. 11 of 2008. Pursuant to Article 53 of Federal Decree-Law No. 11 on Human Resources in the UAE Federal Government as deemed by Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2011 and Federal Decree-Law No. 17 of 2016 (PDF, 300 KB ), as amended, an employee in a permanent employment relationship is granted maternity leave. 

According to it, full-time female workers of the UAE Federal Government can enjoy the following:

  • 60 days maternity leave with full pay
  • 2 hours of nursing leave per day (fully paid) for four months after the employee returns to work

The same law applies to men working for the federal government as they are only granted three days of paid paternity leave in the UAE upon the birth of their child. Paternity leave can only be taken if:

  • The application is submitted in the month of delivery
  • The birth of the child takes place in the United Arab Emirates

Maternity Leave In Abu Dhabi

All pregnant Abu Dhabi government employees will receive the following:

  • 90 days for maternity leave with full pay
  • 2 hours of nursing leave per day for one year after the birth of the child

Men in Abu Dhabi are fully entitled to three working days of paid paternity leave when a child is born.

Maternity Leave in Dubai

After giving birth, some women take less time than others to get back into a routine and resume work

Maternity leave in the Government of Dubai is governed by Decree No. 14 of 2017 on Maternity, Abortion, Stillbirth and Child Care Leave for Female Employees of the Government of Dubai.  Maternity leave in Dubai is governed by the Dubai Government Human Resource Management Law No. 27 of 2006. Female employees working in the Dubai Government are entitled to:

  • 90 days of fully paid maternity leave
  • 2-hour reduction in working time when caring for a child up to one year after birth.

There are other considerations to the above Dubai maternity leave policy.

  • Women can add an annual leave on top of their unpaid days to extend the duration of their 90-day maternity leave.
  • The total period of extended maternity leave shouldn’t be stretched for more than 120 days.
  • Nursing hours can be used at the beginning or end of the working day.
  • During Ramadan, nursing hours are reduced to one hour per day.

The Dubai government’s maternity leave guidelines also include separate provisions for abortion, stillbirth and childcare. The permissions granted in these cases vary according to different situations.

Under the Dubai Government’s Human Resource Management Law No. 8 of 2018 (PDF 9.52 MB), men are entitled to three whole days of fully paid paternity leave which can be taken anytime within one month of the birth of a child.

Sharjah Government Maternity Leave 

A local decree issued in 2016 empowers women working in Sharjah government organizations to:

  • A total of 120 days of maternity leave, which includes 90 days of financially compensating leave and 30 days of unpaid leave
  • Two hours of breastfeeding every day for six months after the baby is born

Unlike the UAE maternity leave provisions in place in other emirates, the Sharjah government also allows pregnant employees to combine annual leave with maternity leave for a longer break.

Ras Al Khaimah Government Maternity Leave

Female employees of the Government of Ras Al Khaimah are entitled to:

  • 90 days of paid maternity leave
  • One year of breastfeeding starting from the day the child is born

Maternal Leave In The Private Sector In UAE

Women that are employed in the UAE private sector are also permitted maternity leave. However, the length of maternity leave in the private sector in the UAE is different from that in the government sector.

Under the UAE’s new labour law, pregnant women in the private sector can:

  • 60 days of maternity leave, divided into
  • 45 days of fully paid maternity leave
  • Extended 15 days holiday with half pay

An additional 45 days of unpaid leave is allowed in case of illness of the mother and child, based on the documents submitted as proof.

An additional 30 days of fully paid leave for mothers with children born with disabilities. This can be extended for another 30 days without payment.

This maternity leave in these UAE countries includes time off before and after birth.

In addition to basic maternity leave, women working in the private sector are allowed two breastfeeding breaks every day for about 18 months from the delivery date. 

A breastfeeding break should not exceed 30 minutes at a time. During this entire period, the woman is entitled to full wages.

UAE labour law also allows paternity leave of five working days for men employed in the private sector.

Paternity leave in the countries UAE can be taken anytime up to six months after the birth of the child.

FAQs

Women have several questions regarding their rights and employment entitlements regarding maternity leave in the UAE. We have answered some of these issues through the FAQ below.

Who Is Entitled To Maternity Leave? 

Expectant employees who give birth to their child at any time after the 6th month of pregnancy are entitled to maternity leave.

When Can I Take My Maternity Leave? 

You can take note of the maternity leave at any time from the very last day of the month preceding the birth month until the child’s birth.

Do Weekends Count Into Maternal Leave? 

Yes. Maternity leave in the UAE ranges between 45 and 90 calendar days, including weekends. If they were weekdays, weekends would not be included.

The UAE maternity leave policy gives you plenty of time to recover and adapt after giving birth.

Does Full Payment Mean Gross Salary? 

Yes, full-pay maternity leave in the UAE entitles you to your gross salary, which includes both your basic salary and the allowances you are entitled to. In the case of half pay, you will receive half of your gross salary, including allowances.\

When Can I Apply For Maternity Leave In UAE?

You can take maternity leave before and after the birth. However, if you decide to use your leaves before giving birth, you may not be able to spend much-needed time with your newborn little one after they are born.

How Long Can You Be Physically Absent From Work After Giving Birth?

There can be a maximum of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days without pay – that is, if she has an illness that prevents her from returning to work. Public sector mothers can combine their maternity leave, annual leave and unpaid leave for a maximum of 120 days.

The illness must be confirmed by a medical certificate issued by the proper health authority in the UAE.

Can An Employer Terminate Me For Pregnancy? 

No, pregnancy alone is not a sufficient reason for dismissal!

Recent changes to UAE labour law specifically prohibit employers from dismissing or terminating an employee based on her pregnancy or maternity leave.

Whether you live in the centre of Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other emirate, it is important to know the laws that govern your rights and responsibilities as a UAE resident.

Anyone working full-time or part-time in the country should be familiar with Tasheel, a government-backed system that simplifies and speeds up work processes in the UAE.

This also includes disputes between employer and employee that may require the intervention of third parties to resolve.

It also is imperative to know how to calculate tips in the UAE. Termination benefits can be substantial. You should have the know-how of what you should receive financially and what to do if you don’t get it.

Conclusion

Stepping into motherhood should be an exciting journey, not a stress-inducing legal puzzle.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of maternity leave regulations in the UAE, you can focus on what truly matters: welcoming your new bundle of joy.

Remember, your rights are protected, and you deserve this time to heal, bond, and adjust to your new role as a parent.

Happy parenting!