The UAE’s labour laws have witnessed the biggest overhaul this February since 1980. The new labour law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 – has introduced a plethora of maternity, paternity, and additional leaves for employees. The move is aimed at improving employee productivity levels and retaining top talent from around the world, and making the UAE an even more attractive destination to live and work.
The new labour laws grant employees various special leaves. A few key highlights include extension of maternity leave for new mothers to 60 days, up from 45 days. New fathers can also avail 5 days of paid leave within the first six months of the birth of their child. The law has also introduced a bevy of additional leaves including study, sabbatical, and bereavement leaves.
As per the updated labour laws of the UAE, female workers will be entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days; with 45 days at full pay while the remaining 15 days at half pay. In case of pregnancy-related illness to the woman or her newborn child, she can acquire additional unpaid leaves of up to 45 days. These can be successive or intermittent and will require a medical certification issued by a medical institution confirming the illness. Additionally, the new laws also protect pregnant women from being fired from their workplace because of their condition.
As per the new law, men within the private sector can also utilise 5 working days of paid paternal leaves after the birth of their child. These leaves can be taken together or one by one, but can only be used before the child is six months old. Before the new labour laws came into effect, these leaves were being given by some emirates but has now officially become a federal law. With these changes in the labour laws, the UAE has become the first country in the Arab world to grant parental leaves to employees in the private sector.
The law also stipulates several additional leaves including;
Bereavement leaves: As per the law, an employee is entitled to three to five bereavement leaves on the death of a family member.
Study leave: Workers may be able to acquire these leaves if they have worked at an organisation for at least a period of 2 years. In this case, they become eligible for 10 days of study leave to sit for exams.
Paid sabbatical: An Emirati worker may be eligible for a paid sabbatical for national or reserve service.
Want to learn more about the UAE’s labour laws and your rights as an employee? Call Al Ramsay Advocates for legal advice.
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