The UAE’s Labour Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – has introduced changes to maternity leave benefits and entitlements for women working in the private sector. These changes came into effect from 2022.
Extended Maternity Leave: Previously, women were entitled to a 45-day maternity leave. However, under the new UAE Labour Law, this has been extended to a total of 60 days. The salary entitlements during this period are as follows:
- The first 45 days with full pay.
- The subsequent 15 days with half pay.
Additional Medical Leave: The earlier labour law allowed for 100 additional days of leave without pay due to health-related complications, provided the necessary medical certificates were presented. The new law has further clarified these entitlements:
- If a female worker exhausts her maternity leave, she can take an absence from work without pay for up to 45 consecutive or interrupted days due to illness occurring to her or her child as a result of pregnancy or delivery. This illness must be verified by a medical certificate.
- A female worker who delivers a sick child or a child with special needs, based on a medical report, is entitled to 30 days’ leave with full pay after the maternity leave. This period can be extended for another 30 days.
Changes in Nursing Breaks: Female workers are entitled to nursing breaks, which can be taken as a single break or divided into two, as long as the total duration does not exceed one hour. The previous law allowed for such breaks for 18 months post-delivery. However, the new law has reduced this period to six months following the date of delivery.
- Extended Maternity Leave: 60 days (up from 45 days)
- Salary During Maternity Leave: First 45 days (full pay), Next 15 days (half pay)
- Additional Medical Leave: Up to 45 days without pay (with medical certificate)
- Special Needs Child: Additional 30 days’ leave (extendable by 30 days)
- Nursing Breaks: Allowed for six months post-delivery (reduced from 18 months)
The new changes aim to provide better support and flexibility to working mothers in the UAE, ensuring their well-being and that of their newborns.