The number of expatriate women working in Dubai is increasing due to the development of the tourist industry, in which female workers can find more employment opportunities. As a female employee, you should be aware of your rights regarding maternity leave. The labor law in UAE covers all important aspects regarding this period in your life. It is important to know what your rights are in case any disputes with your employer arise.
All employed women in Dubai are entitled to a maternity leave of 45 days. This period has been extended to 3 months in a separate clause in the acting civil service law, but this amendment is applicable to UAE nationals only. Hence, expatriate employees cannot benefit from it. You will be able to stay at home for 45 days on full pay, if you have been working for at least one year. Otherwise, you will still be able not to work for the same time, but you will receive only half of your remuneration due for this period.
You are also entitled to 100 days of maternity leave, after the initial period of 45 days is over, provided that you have a valid reason for taking it. These reasons usually include breastfeeding, special care necessary during sickness of the child or sickness of the mother. You might need to provide medical documents to validate taking days off work. Mothers are not entitled to receive payment during this leave. It is up to you to decide how you will use this time. You can take 100 consecutive days off work or you can take them in periods or only when you have an emergency.
You have the right to take 2 half hour breaks from work every day until your child is one and a half years old. These breaks are paid. You do not need to present any special documents in order to take advantage of this option. Still, you should discuss the situation with your manager and let them know how you plan to arrange these laves.
You are entitled to all these benefits as a mother. Your employer should have no objection to any of the forms of maternity leave that you are eligible for. In fact, you might try to negotiate a longer period of leave, if the company or the person you are working for is ready to provide it. It is worth asking, at least. If you manage to negotiate a longer leave, you need to make sure that this is documented, so that you are not unpleasantly surprised afterwards.
In case your employer tries to evade the law in any way, you should not hesitate to defend your rights. It is best to try to settle things amicably first. If this does not work, you can consider consulting a lawyer and filing a complaint in the Ministry of Labor. You might also want to contact your embassy for advice. They might give you advice and support, but it is common practice for them not to interfere in labor disputes.