New UAE labour laws: Maternity, paternity leaves explained

The laws go into effect in February 2022

By Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 5 Dec 2021, 11:39 AM

Q. I am due to deliver my baby in March next year. I read about some amendments made to the UAE labour laws recently. With the new law, how many maternity leaves am I entitled to? What about my husband, would he get some days off, too? Also, am I allowed to combine annual leaves with maternity leaves, so I get a longer break to look after my child?

A. It is noted that you are due to deliver your child in March, next year. By such time, the existing employment laws of the UAE are going to be replaced entirely by fresh legislation, i.e., Federal Law No 33 of 2021 re. Employment Relations (the ‘New Employment Law’). The new law is expected to become effective from the month of February 2022.

As to maternity leaves, the provisions of Article 30 of the New Employment Law shall apply. The said Article 30 comprehensively sets forth the provisions regarding maternity leave and post-natal child-care. An English translation of the said Article 30 is quoted hereinafter for your reference.

Article 30

1. A female worker shall be entitled to a maternity leave of (60) sixty days as follows:

A. The first (45) forty-five days with full pay.

B. The next (15) fifteen days with half pay.

2. A female worker who exhausts her maternity leave may be absent from work without pay for no more than (45) forty-five successive or interrupted days, if such absence is due to illness occurring to her or her children as result of pregnancy and preventing her to report work. Such illness shall be proved by medical certificate issued by the medical institute, and such period shall not be counted in the period of service for which the female worker is entitled to severance pay or subscription to pension system according to the legislation in force in the UAE.

3. A female worker shall be entitled to the maternity leave stated in paragraph (1) above, if delivery takes place after (6) months of pregnancy or above, whether the child is stillborn or born alive then died.

4. A female worker who delivers a sick child or a child with special needs "People of Determination" whose health condition requires a continuous escort based on a medical report from the Medical Institution shall be entitled to 30 thirty days' leave with full pay commencing from the expiry of the maternity leave, such period to be extended for another thirty days.

5. The employer shall grant the female worker a maternity leave where she requests so at any time starting from the last day of the month preceding the month of delivery, as evidenced by a certificate from the Medical Institution.

6. A female worker obtaining the maternity leave or the absence from work referred to in this Article shall not lose her right to other leaves.

7. If a female worker works for another employer during the period of leave stated in this Article, her employer may deprive her of her wage for the period of leave, or recover any wages paid to her.

8. It shall not be permissible to terminate, or give notice to a female worker by reason of pregnancy or for having obtained maternity leave or absence from work pursuant to the provisions of this Article.

9. A female worker shall be entitled, after reporting back to work from maternity leave and for a period not exceeding (6) months following the date of delivery, to one or two breaks per day to nurse her child, provided that such period does not exceed one hour.’’


As to your husband, please note that he shall be entitled to avail paternity leave of five working days, as the New Employment Law sets forth provisions for paternity leave as well. The relevant provisions occur at Article 32 (“Other Leaves”) of the New Employment Law which read as follows:

Article (32)

Other Leaves

1. A worker shall be entitled to paid leave in the following cases:

b. Paternal leave for five working days for the worker (father or mother) who got a child, in order to take care of his child. Such leave shall be taken successively or otherwise during the period of six months following the date of birth of the child.”

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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