By Staff writer
Women will be able to take three months of fully paid leave under new rules; part of UAE's plan to narrow gender gap
The Ras Al Khaimah Government has decided to amend maternity leave rules for working women, enabling them to take three months of fully paid leave.
The move follows the directives of the UAE Gender Balance Council to strengthen the balance index between the sexes in government agencies, news agency WAM reported.
The council was launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to develop policies that support working women to contribute dynamically in community service.
Dr Mohammed Abdul Latif, secretary-general of the Executive Council of Ras Al Khaimah, said that the government "appreciates the role of women in development and their outstanding participation in public work".
"We appreciate the leadership's keenness on improving the status of women to overcome all the challenges that inhibit their active contribution to public life and career. This reflects positively on progress of the community," he said.
The Ras Al Khaimah Government launched an initiative in 2015 to extend the period of breast-feeding to a full year in order to enable women to play their role as mothers and strike a balance between work and family.
Last month, a report by the World Economic Forum said the Middle East continues to have the world's worst record when it comes to gender inequality despite efforts in countries like the UAE to address the balance.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 showed that progress towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap and is now larger than at any point since 2008.
Out of a total of 144 countries covered in the study, the highest ranked Gulf nation was Qatar, placed a lowly 119th, with the UAE ranked 124th despite its recent setting up of the Gender Balance Council and plans to improve maternity leave law to provide women with a supportive work environment.
In September, it was announced that government employees in Abu Dhabi will be entitled to an extra month of maternity leave under new laws announced.
Under the law, new mothers will be provided with full paid maternity leave for three months – two months is the national standard – and will be able to leave the workplace for two hours each day to take care of their babies for their first year.