Gov­ern­ment staff get more parental leave - but what about the rest?

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @is­mailsebu is­mail@7days.ae

Pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees in Abu Dhabi have wel­comed the news that new mums will get ex­tended ma­ter­nity leave, while fa­thers will re­ceive three days pa­ter­nity leave.

How­ever, the move has left some pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees ask­ing: what about us?

Un­der changes an­nounced on Wed­nes­day, ma­ter­nity leave for gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees in Abu Dhabi has been ex­tended from 60 days to three months at full pay. The al­lot­ment for the pri­vate sec­tor is un­changed, re­main­ing at 45 days.

The new hu­man re­sources law, is­sued by UAE Pres­i­dent HH Sheikh Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his ca­pac­ity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, also said male gov­ern­ment will get three days pa­ter­nity leave on the birth of their baby.

The move comes just over a year af­ter Mona Al Marri, Vice Pres­i­dent of the UAE Gen­der Bal­ance Coun­cil, said that the coun­try was “far be­hind” oth­ers when it comes to time off work for new mums. She said in July 2015 that the mat­ter was un­der re­view.

Un­der the new law, moth­ers in the gov­ern­ment sec­tor can also leave the work­place for two hours a day to take care of their ba­bies for a pe­riod of one year from the date of de­liv­ery. Pre­vi­ously they were al­lowed one hour.

“This is a very good thing for us,” said 25-yearold Aisha Mo­hammed, who works for a gov­ern­ment de­part­ment in Abu Dhabi. “I am ex­pect­ing to give birth early next year and the long ma­ter­nity leave will give me more time to be with my child and take good care of him.”

Amal Al Dowaila, a 30-year-old pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer at Abu Dhabi De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, agreed the changes will help.

“Giv­ing an ex­tra month of ma­ter­nity and two hours of daily leave is a great thing for moth­ers,” said the Emi­rati.

“They will be able to take good care of their new­borns with no wor­ries about job tasks.”

Al Dowaila added: “I am happy that gov­ern­ment has put moth­ers and their new­born ba­bies into con­sid­er­a­tion.

Mean­while, Emi­rati Mo­hammed Ghateb, a fa­ther of three boys who works with Abu Dhabi By Is­mail Se­bug­waawo Ports, said pa­ter­nity leave will help fa­thers sup­port their wives.

“My wife needs me around for sup­port af­ter she has given birth,” said the 35-year-old.

“And this three-day leave will al­ways be very im­por­tant for me to spend time with her and the baby.”

Ghateb added the new pol­icy is in line with the gov­ern­ment’s mis­sion to in­crease hap­pi­ness in the UAE.

How­ever, the move has raised ques­tions among those in the pri­vate sec­tor, who have been left won­der­ing whether there will be changes to their manda­tory fam­ily leave.

In­dian mother of three An­daleeb Fa­tima, who works as a mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant at a firm in Abu Dhabi, said moth­ers in the pri­vate sec­tor need ex­tra time with their chil­dren just as much as those in the pub­lic sec­tor.

“In­creas­ing the ma­ter­nity leave to three months for women in gov­ern­ment jobs is a pos­i­tive thing,” said the 42-year-old.

“But it would be good if the gov­ern­ment also considers giv­ing a longer ma­ter­nity leave to moth­ers work­ing for pri­vate firms as 45 days is not enough.”

Fa­tima noted that the mother and baby are fragile in the first months af­ter birth.

The new law ap­plies to all civil­ians who are work­ing in gov­ern­ment of­fices in the emi­rate of Abu Dhabi, ac­cord­ing to the Abu Dhabi Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil.

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