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16 September 2020
Following a change in the law, employees of businesses which operate in the United Arab Emirates are now entitled to five working days' paid parental leave in the six months following the birth of their children.
On 30 August 2020 news agency WAM reported that the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had approved the amendments to the UAE Federal Labour Law.
With the new law, the United Arab Emirates has become the first Arab country to grant parental leave to all employees in the onshore private sector. The law applies to:
The law affects a large number of companies and employees and should bring about a positive change for working parents and to company policies on family benefits. The new law expands the family leave entitlements which already applied in the United Arab Emirates.
Private sector female employees are entitled to 45 calendar days' paid maternity leave, while government and public sector female employees are entitled to 90 calendar days' paid maternity leave. Government and public sector male employees were previously entitled to three days' paternity leave.
In both the DIFC and ADGM free zones, female employees are entitled to 65 working days' paid leave and male employees are entitled to five working days' paid paternity leave.
Therefore, the new entitlement to five days' parental leave will create some consistency between the onshore position and the position in the DIFC and ADGM free zones.
This is excellent news for all affected parties. The United Arab Emirates is one of the most forward-thinking jurisdictions in relation to equality and employment benefits and the introduction of parental leave in this manner is an important and significant development. The government has made the development of workplace equality a priority over the past few years and this is an example of meaningful legislation which will help the authorities to achieve that objective.
Many international and regional employers already provide some form of paternity leave to their employees in the region, but this type of development will give more credibility and consistency to those policies across different sectors. The new law will support families in achieving a better balance at home, which will in turn assist companies in achieving a better level of equality in the workplace. Therefore, it is a win for families, working parents and companies.
For further information on this topic please contact Luke Tapp at Pinsent Masons by telephone (+971 4 373 9700) or email (email@example.com). The Pinsent Masons website can be accessed at www.pinsentmasons.com.
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