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60-day maternity leave for Sharjah public sector

Afkar Abdullah (afkarali@khaleejtimes.com) / 18 January 2011

The Sharjah Government on Monday announced to grant 60 days of maternity leave to the public sector employees, instead of the present period of 45 days.

Fathers of the newborns can have paid paternity leave of three working days.

His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, issued the Law No 1 of the year 2011 to amend the law No 5 of the year 2001 on the Civil Service of the Emirate of Sharjah. The law was issued as part of his concern to women empowerment in the emirate of Sharjah.

The new law grants fully paid maternity leave to women employees for a period of sixty days which could be taken two weeks before the expected date of birth upon a report from a specialist doctor.

It also give the woman employee two hours everyday for breast feeding for a period of first six months and one hour during the period of the second six months after the period of the maternity leave. The breast feeding hours shall be  given before or after the working hours.

The law also allows combining maternity leave with annual leave and leave without pay for a maximum of 100 days from the start of maternity leave.

The law grants male employee in the emirate a paid paternity leave for three working days during the first month of the birth of his child.

Previously, women in Sharjah were eligible for only 45 days of paid maternity leave and paternity leave was not in force.

The law was welcomed by working women and expectant mothers working in the emirate of Sharjah, who expressed their happiness and appreciated the efforts of Dr Shaikh Sultan in supporting and empowering women. Men also appreciated the humanitarian gesture of the Ruler of Sharjah.

“The paternity leave is a positive step. It’s very important to have the father there, especially when the woman has undergone a caesarean section and needs to be taken care of,” said Khalid Al Majed, a Sharjah government employee.

Afaf Humaid, an employee of the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) said: “Women who have given birth need to have their husbands beside them. This way the man can take care of the baby as well as his wife, to make him share the suffering of women who also work and support the family”.

Liela bu Agla, a woman employee, said that the 45 days’ maternity leave was not enough for a mother to recover from a caesarian section and the newborn child can’t be left with some one else. The new law makes every mother happy, she added. 

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