x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

More maternity leave needed for new mums, UAE government told

FNC members push for longer maternity leave and in-house nurseries at Government offices.

ABU DHABI // Longer maternity leave and nurseries at every government office are necessary to improve working conditions for women, an FNC member said yesterday.

Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) told the head of the Human Resources Authority that 60 days was not enough for maternity leave.

And he said that despite a decision to introduce a nursery in every government office, not all had them.

Mr Al Nuaimi said a link between the number of years a woman worked and their retirement age needed to be removed, and flexible working hours introduced.

Humaid Al Qattami, head of the authority and Minister of Education, said laws to ensure equality and protect women's working rights were already in place.

These included providing nurseries and allowing new mothers to combine a maternity leave with annual leave.

Mr Al Qattami said he was aware some workplaces did not have nurseries but the situation was being examined. He said every new mother had the right to spend two hours a day, considered part of her working hours, to breastfeed.

If a woman is asked to travel for work, a member of her family or her husband is eligible for a free ticket to accompany. Muslim widows are given four months off.

Mr Al Nuaimi said the points he had raised were only some made by women in a 2011 survey. Mr Al Qattami said his office was keen to address all concerns.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) said maternity leave was one of the most important issues.

The minister was then asked what was being done to encourage Emiratisation.

He said there was an Emirati in charge of every government entity and some ministries, such us the Ministry of Labour, had a workforce that was almost 100 per cent Emirati.

Ahmed Al Zaabi (Sharjah) said that in 15 years it was expected more than 600,000 Emiratis would be job-seekers. He said about 30,000 were now looking for work.

Mr Al Zaabi said the Human Resources Law needed to be amended and Emiratis' salaries in the private sector to be subsidised.

osalem@thenational.ae