UAE progressive maternity leave policies help working women: paper

ABU DHABI, 26th November, 2016 (WAM)– Progressive maternity leave policies in the UAE will ensure that productivity and participation of the female workforce, that is fundamental to progress, will at all times be invigorating, a local newspaper said on Saturday.

“Helping career-oriented women find a work-life balance is an important aspect of societal progress and the emerging revisions in maternity leave laws in the UAE are a welcome step in strengthening that balance for the female workforce,” The Gulf News said in an editorial, and noted that according to the World Bank, 46.4 per cent of the UAE female population is working, with women making up 13 per cent of the country’s labour force.

The economic impact of these numbers cannot be overemphasised, the English-language daily noted, arguing that the longevity of maternity leaves lies at the heart of the wellness of the newborn in the crucial early post-partum weeks, and is also a predicator of the new mother’s ability to bounce back to optimal physical and psychological health.

“The latter is a critical factor that defines long-term corporate robustness owing to the payoff for employee retention.”

Recently, Abu Dhabi increased its maternity leave allowance for its government employees from 45 days to three months of fully-paid leave and two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to enable new mothers to avail of an extended period of care for their newborns, the Dubai-based paper said.

Last week, Sharjah announced a totally revised package of maternity leave of up to 120 days (comprising 90 paid and 30 unpaid days), while Ras Al Khaimah announced a fully paid three-month maternity leave benefit for working women, the Gulf News added.