UAE jobs: How new labour law empowers women; equal pay, extended maternity leaves

Employers are to provide women with an equal pay for the same job performed by men.

By Sherouk Zakaria

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Reuters file
Reuters file

Published: Wed 17 Nov 2021, 10:21 AM

Last updated: Wed 17 Nov 2021, 10:25 AM

Extended maternity leave, equal pay and anti-harassment provisions in the new labour law are part of UAE’s efforts to empower women in the private sector.

Under the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 regulating labour relations, to be effective from February 2, 2022, employers are to provide women with an equal pay for the same job performed by men, with the value to be determined by the cabinet. Discrimination is also prohibited in terms of duties in the same workplace.

The new amendments in the law emphasize that all provisions regulating the employment of workers shall apply without discrimination to working women. In the anti-discrimination provisions, employers are prohibited to hire on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, nationality, or disability that would weaken equal opportunity or impair equality in the workplace.

His Excellency Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the law aims to endorse equality in the workplace to support the skills and abilities of workers in the private sector, and ultimately increase labour market efficiency and productivity.

Extended maternity leaves

The new labour law extends maternity leave in the private sector to 60 days, including 15 days on half wage.

In cases of the mother or the newborn falling ill, the employee is eligible to receive additional 45 days without pay once the initial maternity leave is over, upon providing an official sick leave.


New mothers of infants with special needs are entitled to a 30-day paid leave after the completion of their initial maternity leave, renewable for another 30 days with no pay. This provision applies upon providing a medical report of the child’s case.

Anti-harassment provisions

Article 14 of the new law expressively prohibits sexual harassment, bullying, or the use of verbal, physical, or emotional violence against employees by the employer, superiors or colleagues.

Under the same article, the employer may not use any means of coercion or penalty threat to force employees to perform a task against their will.

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