Sarah Brooks Fikrah HR on Maternity Leave in UAE

Maternity Leave Labour Laws in the UAE

In episode 36 of the Next of Kin Podcast I spoke to HR expert Sarah Brooks, Founder of Fikrah HR. From my own experience I know that there is a lot of misinformation out there and it is hard to figure out what your legal rights are as an employee. With over 20 years experience, Sarah has wealth of knowledge, so I am so grateful that she was willing to share this with us.

Below you will find brief answers to common parenting-related HR questions. Listen to the full episode for more information.

This information was last updated on 2nd July 2024.

Q: When do I need to tell my employer I am pregnant in the UAE?

A: Legally, there is no timeframe requirement for when you need to tell your employer. However, it is best for you to do so when you feel comfortable, this is so that you can be protected under the maternity status article.


Q: Do HR laws change between mainland and freezone companies?

A: There is an over-arching employment federal law which covers all types of companies, mainland and freezone, apart from: DIFC, Abu Dhabi GM freezone and the Government which have their own laws. So the general advice given here today is based on the federal law. 


Q: Will my UAE employers be notified by my health insurer if I see a medical professional about my pregnancy?

A: No, the medical professionals have a strict code of conduct meaning that they cannot share claim details with an employer.


Q: How long is maternity leave in the UAE?

A: The guaranteed minimum by law is 60 calendar days, with the first 45 days being full pay including all allowances, and the following 15 days are half rate. Individual companies may have a longer maternity leave policy.

There are then 2 additional extendable elements:

1. If you or your child is ill you can take an intermittent or continuous unpaid leave of 45 days with a medical certificate.

2. If you give birth to a child of determination, or serious illness which requires a constant carer (this also needs to be supported by medical reports) you receive an extension of 30 days with full pay, and it can be extended by a further 30 days unpaid.


Q: How long do you have to be with a company to be eligable for maternity leave?

Under the UAE Labour law there is no minimum length of service requirement for an employee to be eligible for maternity leave. Other rules apply under DIFC legislation wherein a minimum of 12 months service is applicable. 


Q: How many days paternity leave in the UAE?

A: There is no official paternity leave in the UAE, however each parent, both Mother and Father can take 5 days parental leave until the child is 6 months old.


Q: What is nursing leave?

A: You are entitled to 1 or 2 breaks (not exceeding the total of 1 hour) to nurse your child within the first 6 months of their life. Some choose to instead start work an hour later or leave and hour earlier.


Q: Can I be made redundant whilst on maternity leave?

A: No, any notice period cannot start until you have returned to work. This is applicable to any kind of leave. They could let you know that they plan to make you redundant but the notice period cannot start whilst you are on leave.


Q: What should I do if my employer is not following the law?

A: If the company is under mainland licensing or department of economics they can get in contact with MOHRE which has a free service to call, they can give advice as well as filing a complaint.

There is a similar structure set up by the freezones, you can get in touch with the individual freezone.


Q: What happens if I am pregnant and unmarried in the UAE?

A: It is important to know that it is no longer illegal to be pregnant and unmarried in the UAE, however a lot of insurers do not cover the health care for unmarried Mothers and are not required to.

For more information you can listen to the full episode here or contact Sarah Brooks from Fikrah HR.

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