In August 2020, UAE became the first country to introduce paid paternity leave for fathers. Male employees in the UAE’s private sector are now allowed parental leave for a period of five working days to care for their newborn, which can be taken within the first six months of the child’s birth. Maternity leave allowance for those in the private sector is up to 45 calendar days. Taking to Twitter, Manal AR AL Maktoum shared, “This year, UAE became the first and only country in MENA to offer parental leave. Since 2019, UAE improved by 53 points in the WBL index, rising to 82.5 points in WBL2021.”
This year, UAE became the first and only country in MENA to offer parental leave. Since 2019, UAE improved by 53 points in the WBL index, rising to 82.5 points in WBL2021. pic.twitter.com/3tTchgM4qq
— Manal MR AL Maktoum (@MMbinRashid) February 24, 2021
This is the first time that the UAE’s private-sector has been granted paid paternity leave, after an amendment to the UAE Labour Law was approved by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE in August last year. More than 20 legal articles have been passed over the past three years to strengthen gender balance through new legislation and constitutional changes. Moreover, The UAE government portal read, “The parental leave is a paid leave that can be applied for by both mother and father of the baby”.
According to the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), “A federal decree-law amending some provisions of the regulation on labour relations was approved, under which male and female private sector employees are given a paid parental leave for five working days to look after their babies, effective from the baby’s date of birth until he is six months old.” Furthermore, amendments to labour laws include equal pay for men and women, equal access to employment and promotional opportunities, prohibition of the termination of women’s contracts due to pregnancy and the removal of all restrictions on women working night hours, especially in hazardous industries such as agriculture, mining and transportation among others. Additionally, the definition of the head of the household in the UAE has also been revised, now allowing women to be the “head of the family”.