When it comes to maternity leave, the UAE isn’t exactly paving the way for women around the world.
In Norway, new mums can get up to 52 weeks’ leave on full pay, whereas the emirates offers a government-mandated 45 days on full pay.
However some companies are taking a stand, such as one Dubai-based real estate consultancy.
MENA Properties is extending its paid maternity leave for employees by a further 15 days – 60 days in total – and offering flexible hours, all in the name of empowering women.
The extension was the brainchild of Rasha Nashaat, MENA’s founder, who wanted “to ensure mothers have a comfortable transition back into work”.
MENA, who hires a workforce of around 70 per cent women, isn’t the first company in the UAE to try to bridge the gap between home and work.
After a YouGov poll revealed that 77 per cent of mums in the country would like to return to work after having a baby, a local recruitment firm decided to back a new scheme to help them do just that.
Mums@Work connects women with employers looking to fill full-time and part-time roles, helping them to get back into the workplace but at their own pace.
In the UAE, a new mother is entitled to a further 100 days off work without pay, following her statutory 45-day leave.
Public sector workers do get a slightly larger allowance – 60 days at full pay, followed by an allowance of up to 100 days unpaid.
However Dubai mums don’t have it as bad as others across the world – despite being a developed nation, the US still doesn’t offer mandate paid leave. New parents there are forced to take annual holiday or unpaid time off.