What Are the Recent UAE Labour Law Updates Regarding Maternity Leave and Child Health?


What are the recent UAE labour law updates regarding maternity leave and child health?


Maternity leave and child health are important aspects of labour laws in the UAE. The UAE has made significant updates to its labour laws in recent years, particularly in Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021, which came into effect on 2nd February 2022.

These updates provide comprehensive provisions for maternity leave, and paternity leave, and even touch upon child health. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of maternity leave and paternity leave, and how they relate to child health, focusing on the legal framework in the UAE.

Maternity Leave Provisions (Article 30): Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 outlines the provisions for maternity leave in the UAE, promoting the well-being of mothers and indirectly contributing to child health. Here are the key points:

Duration of Maternity Leave:

  • Female employees are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave.
  • The first 45 days of maternity leave are fully paid.
  • The remaining 15 days are paid at half the employee’s regular salary.

Request for Maternity Leave:

  • A female worker can request maternity leave starting from the last day of the month preceding the expected month of delivery.
  • To be eligible, the delivery must occur after at least six months or more of pregnancy.

Additional Maternity Leave:

  • If a female employee or her child experiences illness due to pregnancy or childbirth, she is entitled to an additional maternity leave of up to 45 continuous or intermittent days, without pay.
  • A medical certificate from a recognized medical entity is required to prove the illness.

Maternity Leave for Disabled or Sickly Child:

  • If a female employee gives birth to a disabled or sickly child, she is entitled to an additional 30 days of fully paid maternity leave.
  • A medical report confirming the child’s health condition is necessary to claim this leave.

Breastfeeding Breaks:

  • After returning from maternity leave and for up to six months from the date of delivery, a female employee is entitled to one or two rest periods per day to breastfeed her child, with each period not exceeding one hour.

Paternity Leave Provisions (Article 32):

While the focus of this article is on maternity leave and child health, it’s important to mention that Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 also introduced provisions for paternity leave in the UAE:

  • Male employees are entitled to five days of paternity leave.
  • Paternity leave is fully paid, and it can be taken within six months from the date of the child’s birth.

Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 includes a non-discrimination clause, stating that no employer can terminate or discriminate against an employee based on their pregnancy or maternity leave. This provision ensures that the rights of pregnant employees are protected in the workplace

Child Health Implications:

The UAE’s labour laws indirectly address child health through these maternity and paternity leave provisions:

Extended Maternity Leave:

  • The UAE recognizes the importance of a mother’s presence during the early stages of a child’s life by providing extended maternity leave.
  • This extended leave allows mothers to bond with their new-borns, which can positively impact a child’s health and development.

Paternity Leave:

  • Paternity leave encourages fathers to actively participate in the care of their newborns, promoting family bonding and support during the period for child health.


The UAE’s labour laws prioritize the well-being of both mothers and children. Maternity leave provisions not only support the physical and emotional health of mothers but also indirectly contribute to child health by recognizing the importance of maternal care during the early stages of a child’s life.

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