Maternity Leave in DIFC

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    Maternity leave is a period granted to a woman who is about to have a child or just had a baby, in order to reestablish herself after the delivery and take care of her new baby.

    The paid maternity leave system in DIFC provides female employees with the opportunity to balance family and career without having to make any compromises.

    Maternity leave in DIFC: An Overview

    Dubai International Financial Centre, a special economic zone in Dubai established in 2004 as a financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA). DIFC is home to an internationally recognized, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common Law framework.

    Article 37 (Maternity Leave) and Article 38 (Maternity Pay) of the DIFC Employment Law state the following:

    A female employee may take maternity leave for up to sixty-five (65) work days at the following rate:

    • Full pay for the first thirty-three (33) Working days,
    • Half pay for the next thirty-two (32) Working days


    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Who is eligible for maternity leave?

      A female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave if she has been continuously employed by her employer for at least twelve (12) months, including any period of secondment, immediately preceding the expected or actual week of childbirth.

    2. Is maternity leave in DIFC based on calendar days or working days?

      Maternity Leave is calculated on working days, excluding weekly off days and any holidays covered by Maternity Leave.

    3. How many days of maternity leave are granted to female workers in DIFC?

      A female employee may take maternity leave for up to sixty-five (65) working days, out of which 33 working days will be fully paid leave and the rest 32 days will be half-paid leave.

    4. What are the components to be included for paying salary during maternity leave?

      The “full pay” to which you are entitled while on maternity leave is specified as gross income, which includes both basic salary and any additional benefits.

    5. What is the timeline to submit the application for maternity leave in DIFC?

      An employee must notify her employer in writing that she is pregnant at least eight (8) weeks before the expected week of childbirth and must provide a certificate from a medical practitioner registered with a competent authority confirming the expected or actual birth date. She must also notify her employer in writing at least twenty-one (21) days before the day on which she proposes to begin her maternity leave.

    6. Is maternity leave applicable for the adoption of a child?

      The maternity leave provisions under Article 37 also apply to a female employee who is adopting a child who is less than five (5) years old, and, in such a case, references to childbirth in Article 37(2) are treated as references to the date of adoption.

    7. Will annual leave get accrued while employees are on maternity leave?

      Vacation Leave shall continue to accrue during Maternity Leave and, subject to the reasonable needs of the employer’s business, may be taken consecutively to Maternity Leave.

    8. How are national or public holidays that fall within an employee’s maternity leave treated in DIFC?

      Any public holiday falling on a work day during the maternity leave period shall be treated as additional leave having the effect of extending the maternity leave by the period of the public holiday.

    9. Is an employee eligible to get compensation for unused maternity leave?

      An employee has no right to be compensated in lieu of accrued but unused maternity leave.

    10. Does a female employee qualify for additional breaks after delivery?

      In addition to the break referred to in Article 26(1), where the working time for a female employee returning to work from maternity leave exceeds six (6) hours, the employee is entitled to nursing breaks of at least one (1) hour in aggregate during the work day for a period of six (6) months following the actual date of childbirth.

    11. Can an employer terminate an employee who is on maternity leave?

      While an employee is on maternity leave, the employer is not allowed to terminate her.


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