UAE: Emirati women in government, private sector should get uniform leave, FNC member says

Proposals aim to achieve equality in job privileges in both sectors.

File photo
File photo

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 15 Feb 2022, 5:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Feb 2022, 5:09 PM

A member of the Federal National Council (FNC) has proposed for a uniform maternity leave and other leaves for female Emiratis working in government and private sector.

Sabreen Hassan Al Yamahi said in a parliamentary report addressed to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation that the difference in the leaves, especially those related to mourning, childbirth, breastfeeding hours, and work, significantly and negatively affect the social and job stability of citizens working in the private sector.

It also affects the attitudes and convictions of fresh graduates looking for jobs in the private sector.

Al Yamahi says maternity leave period granted to female government employees also be extended to citizens working in the private sector firms so they get equal benefits.

According to the federal law on maternity leave in the federal government, a female employee in a permanent position shall be granted maternity leave of three months (90 days) with full salary. After that, for 4 months from the date of the employee resuming work, she is entitled to 2 hours' reduced working hours to nurse her child either at the beginning or at the end of the working hours. Maternity leave may not be combined with leave without pay.

A female worker in the private sector is entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days. The first 45 days with full pay and the next 15 days with half pay.

“The child whose mother works in a government job enjoys 240 hours of breastfeeding reduced from their mother’s working hours, while the one whose mother works in the private sector gets 180 hours of breastfeeding,” Al Yamahi explained adding that there should be uniformity in the maternity leave days and breastfeeding hours for citizen mothers working in government and private sector jobs.

The FNC member also urged the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to address this issue of Emiratis in private sector jobs getting lesser maternity leave days compared to their colleagues working in public departments, by taking advantage of Article No. (4) of the Decree-Law Regulating Labour Relations No. (33) of 2021, which calls for putting place measures that would attract Emiratis to the private sector jobs.

"How can we apply double standards in dealing with a citizen working in the government sector and another one working in the private sector? Let us apply the existing provisions of the law to make these changes so all citizens get equal benefits,” she said.

In January, Al Yamahi had requested that the government extend the two-and-a-half-day weekend granted to government employees to citizens working in the private sector firms so they get equal benefits following the recent weekend change in the UAE.


Federal government departments in the UAE moved to a four-and-a-half-day working week from January 1, 2022. Friday half-day, Saturday and Sunday had formed the new weekend in the country, aligning it with global markets.

Al Yamahi said her proposals are in line with what the UAE leadership seeks to achieve, including; stability and job satisfaction for UAE nationals working in the private sector, and to achieve maximum equality in job privileges between the public and private sectors, especially in light of the comparisons between the two sectors.

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