Women take centrestage as UAE maternity leave law comes under review

The changes in the new human resources law issued recently in Abu Dhabi, was commended by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of  Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The amended law allows working women to take three months of fully-paid maternity leave instead of two.

Sheikha Manal stressed the council’s commitment to submitting suggestions to decision-makers in order to amend the UAE maternity law in the best way possible.

All sectors, particularly where women have more job opportunities such as the health and education sectors, should work together to advocate a unified Federal law for maternity leave, she added.

The UAE has many achievements to its credit in the area of women’s empowerment and development, which has strengthened the UAE’s ranking in international reports, Sheikha Manal said.

The UAE has been praised for its development model, which has placed the welfare of women as one of the government’s top priorities and created a supportive environment for women and their families by enabling them to contribute as active members of society, she added.

Through these efforts, the UAE is working to alter stereotypes about women and help them demonstrate their capabilities in playing important leadership roles, Sheikha Manal also stressed.

She highlighted the efforts of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood in encouraging working women, which serves as an inspiration for further efforts to create a supportive environment for women and their families.

The UAE Gender Balance Council set up a committee to discuss the UAE Maternity Law at a workshop it had organised. The committee included representatives from the various UAE government sectors, particularly the health, education, legal and military sectors, along with human resources specialists and representatives from the private sector.

It reviewed the current maternity law and provided suggestions in line with the directives of the leadership and the government’s vision to ensure the UAE’s leading position in supporting women.

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, opened the meeting with a speech, highlighting the government’s efforts to secure a high ranking for the UAE in various international reports.

The government believes that supporting women, reducing the gender gap and increasing opportunities across all sectors, will strengthen the UAE’s leading position in this area.

Today, women in the UAE account for 66 per cent of government jobs and hold 30 percent of decision-making positions.

This reflects the rapid development and progress the UAE is making in achieving gender balance, she said.

The workshop also explored the importance of creating a new maternity law and its positive impact on institutions and individuals.

The new law will enhance the family life of working women, whilst enhancing productivity levels.

The committee highlighted the right of each child to receive the required care from their parents, as well as the importance of breastfeeding at a young age.

The UAE Gender Balance Council was established to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors in the country, enhance the UAE’s ranking in global reports on gender equality, and promote gender balance in decision-making positions.

It also aims to launch innovative initiatives and projects that contribute to greater gender balance, which will position the UAE as a model for gender balance and a benchmark for legislation.