A new committee is set to be established to review the UAE’s maternity law, under a directive issued by the country’s UAE Gender Balance Council.
The aim is to provide women with a “supportive work environment” and to activate the ‘gender balance index’ across various sectors, a statement said.
Under UAE law, companies are obliged to provide employees with 45 calendar days (six weeks) of maternity leave, while public sector workers receive 60 days. The law also stipulates that women should be allowed to take another 100 days leave without pay.
That compares with maternity leave of 49 weeks in Norway, 39 weeks in the UK, 18 weeks in New Zealand and 10 weeks in Saudi Arabia.
The UAE Gender Balance Council’s president Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that the activation of the index will ensure women’s effective participation in the country’s economic development.
“In the next phase, the council will take the necessary steps to ensure that men and women have equal opportunities to participate in the sustainable development of the UAE,” she said.
The council’s vice president Mona Ghanem Al Marri added that its objectives will be implemented through three stages.
They include – developing legislations that help achieve gender balance; creating equal opportunities for men and women across various sectors to meet international standards; and overseeing the implementation of these recommendations to support the participation of women.
The council has also discussed suggestions to increase the participation of women in the workforce through identifying and overcoming challenges and introducing part-time shifts in departments and companies.
The UAE aims to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021 (currently it ranks 41 worldwide).
To achieve that, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum assigned the council to activate the implementation of the gender balance index.
The index aims to support the efforts of individuals and organisations to enhance gender balance in the UAE via three initiatives.
The first initiative includes documenting the efforts of supporting bodies through the ‘UAE gender balance seal’, the second involves the implementation of the ‘UAE gender balance order’ and the third is the establishment of the ‘best three UAE gender balance initiatives award’.
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