By Staff writer
The emirate of Sharjah five years ago introduced 90 days maternity leave for female government workers
A Sharjah royal has called for maternity cover for women working in the UAE private sector to be extended beyond the current 45 days paid leave, bringing it in line with the 90 days leave for female government employees introduced in the emirate five years ago.
"There is no doubt that many private sector companies are fully commitment to providing a supportive work environment for working mothers, yet there remains a need to expand and continue these efforts to keep up with new challenges facing women in the workplace," Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, daughter of the Ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of Sharjah Baby Friendly Office, said in a statement issued by the WAM state news agency.
"Adopting the highest standards that safeguard the rights of working mothers will in turn support the nation’s development process and women's empowerment efforts. Under the UAE Labour Law, women working in the private sector are entitled to 45 days of full pay for maternity leave and dedicated breastfeeding hours for 18 months post-delivery," she said.
Sheikha Bodour added that five years ago Sharjah became the first emirate in the UAE to grant 90-day maternity leave to all mothers working in government departments. “It is because family systems are at the core of Sharjah’s vision of human-centric development," she said.
Her comments came on the occasion of the centenary of the first international labour standards on maternity protection and coincided with the National Breastfeeding Week observed in the UAE from November 6–10.
"Extending maternity leave for the private sector is an essential step to achieving social justice and true women’s empowerment. For many women, motherhood is an essential element of life. We cannot truly empower women if we fail to protect maternity," Sheikha Bodour added.