Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi calls for extended maternity leave in private sector

Current UAE law states entitles women to 45 days maternity leave on full pay, while male employees get three days of paternity leave

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi has called for working mothers in the UAE’s private sector to be given extended maternity leave. She said the move would represent a leap forward for “social justice” in the UAE.

According to a report by The National, she noted, “Extending maternity leave for the private sector is an essential step to achieving social justice and true women’s empowerment.”

The Sharjah royal is the chairwoman of the Sharjah Friendly Baby Office and noted that women cannot truly be empowered unless maternity rights are safeguarded. The Sheikha also stated that Sharjah played an important role in supporting mothers juggling commitments in the workplace and at home.

“More than five years ago, under the directives of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, our emirate became the first in the UAE to grant a 90-day maternity leave to all mothers working in Sharjah’s government departments. It is because family systems are at the core of Sharjah’s vision of human-centric development,” she said.

Sheikha Bodour actively speaks about the well-being of working mothers and acknowledged the private sector’s commitment to providing a supportive work culture for mothers. She said these efforts needed to continue.

She added, “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.”

In recent years the federal government has taken steps to make gender balance a national priority. The UAE Cabinet endorsed a bill last year ensuring equal pay for men and women – the country aims to be one of the world’s top 25 countries in the area of gender equality through its Vision 2021 strategy.

In the regional construction industry, some companies have begun offering extended maternity and paternity leave to their employees, as well as flexible working and other support mechanisms designed to encourage women back into the workplace following the start of their families.

“We salute the women who made this possible with their strong advocacy for women’s rights,” Sheikha Bodour remarked.

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