x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Working mothers more productive than smokers

Readers respond to The National's coverage

A crane installs metal sheets underground on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip. A reader comments that the sealing of the Rafah border crossing is one reason for Israel's support of the Mubarak regime. Eyad Baba/ AP
A crane installs metal sheets underground on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip. A reader comments that the sealing of the Rafah border crossing is one reason for Israel's support of the Mubarak regime. Eyad Baba/ AP

The front page article Fewer openings for working mums (February 6) reported that two thirds of UAE companies do not intend to increase the number of mothers on their staff out of fear that they would take time off to have another child. When there are no discrimination laws, it is a company's prerogative to employ whoever they choose. However, it seems shortsighted to assume that a female with children will be a burden to a company.

In the last 12 months I have taken 34 working days of maternity leave, all well planned for and with tasks covered by a prepared colleague. I have not had a sick day since returning to work and having a child means that I have extra responsibilities and am even more committed to my job and strive to perform well.

In the same 12 months, my male colleague has taken a 10-minute cigarette break on the hour, every hour. This adds up to 43.3 days of unscheduled, uncovered, unproductive paid time and will lead to chronic serious health issues that will be a further burden on the company in years to come in regards to sick leave and health insurance.

From a purely fiscal perspective, it is obvious who is the better option as an employee.

Name Withheld by Request

Observe holidays for true meaning

In reference to Public holiday for all next Thursday (February 7), there is a growing trend in the UAE that the public holidays are not given on the same day in case it falls between two working days even if the occasion is of great national or religious importance. Many members of the workforce are happy because they get more time to enjoy with their families and friends. But the purpose of the holiday is lost. Holidays are just reduced to mere time off without any meaning to it.

People just enjoy another day off without any national or religious fervour. The Milad Al Nabi holiday being postponed is not a good way to show respect to the Prophet Mohammed. It is not an ideal situation. Holidays are meant to be celebrated in the true spirit of the occasion.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi

Repercussions of protest in Egypt

It's ridiculous to think that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his government can step down immediately. There's much important work to do, like destroying 30 years of incriminating state secrets, information on political prisoners, records of human rights abuses, records showing support for Israel in return for billions in US aid, massive financial impropriety and shifting millions if not billions of dollars belonging to the ex-government elite out of the country.

There aren't enough shredding machines in Egypt to destroy this amount of incriminating paperwork. Thirty years is a long time.

Adil Ali, Abu Dhabi

Israeli politicians are now openly critical of their principal funder and arms supplier, the United States, by alleging that the US president Barack Obama should be supporting the failed dictatorship of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak - and that calling for human rights and democracy in Egypt is a grave error.

What is surprising is the willingness to criticise America openly.

And that brings the problem into stark relief. Israel cannot direct this US administration as they did the last administration and desperately wants a right-wing, Republican government which, it believes, will be more sympathetic to Israeli demands for a "Greater Israel" that includes the whole West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The current popular, civilian uprising in Egypt is deeply unpopular in Israel where they prefer Mr Mubarak's often brutal regime, as the status quo suited the Israeli agenda very well. Without Mr Mubarak, Israel would not have been able to mount the siege of Gaza since he kept closed the border crossing at Rafah.

Clearly, what is good for Israel is no longer good for America, and that lesson needs to be learned.

John Kidd, UK

Problems in population mix

The news article Search for ideal population mix (January 26) looked at a future strategy to reduce the imbalance between Emiratis and expatriates. I find this quite conflicting with the objectives of the UAE. Think, for example, of the plan Abu Dhabi 2030. With all the massive developments envisioned, how will everything be run if imported labour is restricted? Hotels, museums, tourist attractions, all sorts of facilities need to be managed, so where will these people come from as the Emirati population is so small? Will government officials, instead, hugely scale back their ambitions?

On the other hand, what working conditions are Emiratis willing to accept? The private sector may find the conditions difficult to cope with in term of salaries, benefits, working hours and annual leave.

John Williams, Abu Dhabi