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Sheikh Hamdan approves 3-month paid maternity leave for government employees

By Wam

Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has approved the new maternity leave policy for Dubai Government employees, which extends maternity leave to three months paid leave, effective from 1 March 2017.

The policy covers all governmental entities that are subject to the Dubai Government Human Resources Law.

Sheikh Hamdan said that the government aims to help the employees support their families as this will have a positive impact on the employees.

"As part of our efforts to support different sections of society, and provide various kinds of support for families, we have approved the extension of the maternity leave for employees of Dubai Government to three months. This will help employees have closer family bonds, and enhance their sense of family stability. It will also help working mothers to play their crucial roles in the family more effectively and help ensure the proper upbringing of the individual," Sheikh Hamdan said.

"In this amendment of the maternity leave, we focused on the comfort of working mothers and the need for legislation that meets their need for family-work balance. We have also taken into consideration the need to provide working mothers enough time to take care of their new born babies. This is particularly important in the case of babies that have special needs, since the parents may need to provide a higher degree of care and follow up. The integration of individuals with special needs into society is one of the top priorities of the Government of Dubai. It is a process that starts prior to birth," he said.

"The amendments to the maternity leave is a token of our appreciation for the efforts of working mothers in contributing to the well-being of the country, family and society. We are offering working mothers the opportunity to achieve their professional ambitions in a conducive environment that attracts talented and productive people and helps enhance the competitiveness of women in the job market."

The amendment to the Dubai Government maternity leave aims to: - extend the compulsory fully paid maternity leave to three months for the female employee. It is also permitted to add the annual leave and the unpaid leave to the maternity leave, with the condition that it does not exceed 120 days.

- Extend the breast-feeding period to two hours instead of one hour effective from the date of the end of the maternity leave for a period of one year from the date of the baby’s birth. It can be taken either at the beginning or towards the end of working hours, and will be fully paid hours. This will be reduced to one hour during Ramadan.

- Include a clause for abortion and miscarriage cases. Female employees experiencing abortion or miscarriage will receive sick leave upon the presentation of a sick leave note from an authorised doctor.

- Include a special care leave. This grants a special care leave to a female employee who has delivered a baby with special needs with a salary that specified by the official medical commission, depending on the case.

"The approval of the amendments to the maternity leave highlights the keenness of Dubai Government to provide employees with a supportive work environment," Secretary General of the Executive Council Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani said.

"The new policy took into consideration the different cases that may affect working mothers, including the delivery of babies with special needs and abortion cases, which distinguish the Dubai government’s maternity leave from those in other parts of the world. This will increase the competiveness of Dubai and help achieve Dubai’s 2021 strategy."

Chairman of the Commission for Social Development at the Executive Council Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri also praised the role of the various sectoral commissions to support the Executive Council. "Maternity leave has always been a priority that we discussed during the meetings of the commission for social development, and we aimed to develop a policy that supports working women."

Director General of Dubai Government Human Resources Amal Bin Adi also praised the amendment as it will further empower women, boost the participation of women in the workplace and help them achieve a healthy work-life balance.