المقالات القانونية / قانون العمل


Does UAE Labour Law Guarantee Maternity Leave for Female Employees, Even If Their Contract Doesn't Include It?

employment

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March 11, 2024


Maternity leave is an important aspect of employment, playing a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of female workers during and after pregnancy. The UAE Labor Law is dedicated to safeguarding the rights of workers, with a specific emphasis on the welfare of female employees during maternity.

Even when maternity leave is not explicitly specified in some employment contracts, the comprehensive provisions of Article 30 and Article 65 in the Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 explicitly outline the entitlements of female workers to maternity leave. This legal framework goes beyond mere contractual agreements, establishing a protective and supportive environment for female workers in the UAE.

Article 30 - Maternity Leave:

  • Female workers are entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days, with the initial 45 days at full pay and the subsequent 15 days at half pay.
  • After exhausting maternity leave, a female worker may cease working without pay for up to 45 continuous or intermittent days due to illness related to pregnancy or childbirth. This period requires a medical certificate.
  • Maternity leave is applicable if childbirth occurs after 6 months of pregnancy, regardless of the fetus's condition. In the case of giving birth to a sick or disabled child, the female worker is entitled to an additional 30 days with full pay and the option to extend for another 30 days without pay.
  • The female worker has the right to request maternity leave at any time from the last day of the month preceding the expected month of delivery, supported by a medical certificate.
  • The law explicitly prohibits the termination or warning of termination due to pregnancy, maternity leave, or absence from work under the provisions of Article 30.
  • Upon returning from maternity leave, and for a period not exceeding 6 months from the date of delivery, a female worker is entitled to one or two rest periods per day for breastfeeding, each not exceeding one hour.

Nullification of Contrary Conditions:

As per Article 65(3) of the UAE labour law, the nullification of contrary conditions is emphasized. Any condition that contradicts the provisions of the Decree-Law, even if established before its enforcement, is considered null and void unless it is more beneficial to the worker. Additionally, waivers or reconciliations that violate the provisions of the Decree-Law are also deemed null and void.

Article 65 establishes the rights of workers. It is essential to note that these rights, as outlined in the Decree-Law, do not challenge any additional rights granted to workers under other legislations, agreements, approvals, systems, or employment contracts. This provision ensures that workers are entitled to rights that are more beneficial than the minimum standards set by the Decree Law, thereby creating a framework that prioritizes the well-being and fairness of employees.

Conclusion

Female employees in the UAE are guaranteed maternity leave under the provisions of the Labor Code, irrespective of whether it is explicitly stated in their employment contracts. This legal safeguard ensures that female employees may take the necessary time off during pregnancy and childbirth without fear of contractual limitations. Employers must adhere to these regulations to promote a workplace that respects and upholds the rights of all employees.

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