Research on the benefits of paternity leave in other countries does not suggest any negative economic impact. Ravindranath K / The National
Research on the benefits of paternity leave in other countries does not suggest any negative economic impact. Ravindranath K / The National

Benefits of UAE paternity leave run deep within society



A recent editorial on maternity leave highlighted the limited provision for new mothers in UAE employment law. Certainly there is a long way to go before the UAE can reach the standards of developed economies in Europe. Even the United States, which is typically criticised for its lack of statutory leave for new mothers offers up to 12 weeks, although much of that is without pay.

The issue of maternity leave is central to a woman’s ability to balance the pursuit of a career with motherly aspirations. Legal provisions for maternity leave protect a working woman and ensure her rights before the law, but they can lead to unintended and undesirable consequences.

Speaking with HR and recruitment specialists, there already exists a bias against hiring women of childbearing age who are recently married. The perception among employers is that a young woman, recently married, is likely to fall pregnant in the near future and be unable to fulfil the obligations of the job for which she has been hired. Despite the clear, significant and verifiable contribution that women make to the workplace, old prejudices still exist.

Any increase in maternity leave that brings the UAE closer to the norms of developed economies is of ultimate benefit to women currently employed, but may act as a barrier to the hiring of younger women entering the workforce. These new jobseekers are at risk of the potential prejudice and fear of an employer who might view their addition to the company as a financial risk if extensive maternity cover is needed.

A more powerful change relating to parental responsibilities would take place in the UAE workplace if statutory paternity leave were introduced on the same conditions as maternity leave. Paternity leave is leave given to the father following the birth of a child – basically the father’s equivalent to maternity leave. When I discuss this concept with my human resources management students at UAE University, the initial reaction is one of laughter, especially from the women – many of whom are already mothers.

Their discussions on the relative usefulness of the stereotypical father in the early weeks and months of child rearing are generally comical and or derisory. But once the discussion moves away from humour and initial scepticism and we begin discussing the larger implication for society and the UAE workplace, more serious implications become evident.

Disparity in workplace benefits between any groups in the labour market has the potential to create barriers to employment and reinforce labour market segmentation between those groups. We see this already in the UAE in relation to workforce nationalisation/ Emiratisation initiatives. Research on the issue has indicated that if private companies perceive the potential for additional costs in the recruitment of Emiratis over non-nationals, this can act as a barrier to hiring.

The same logic and rationale can be applied to the perception of added costs in hiring a woman and potential new mother. Despite the social and ethical obligations an employer has to promoting fairness at work, women have had to fight against discrimination in the workplace for generations and continue to do so.

The most direct way to empower women in the workplace is to remove any sources of bias or prejudice that might exist in hiring them. If men were to receive the same (or largely similar) benefits and conditions including parental leave then the perceived added “cost” of hiring women and potential mothers disappears.

Certainly the traditional role of women in the UAE as primary caregivers and homemakers is not at odds with the introduction of paternity leave. Rather paternity leave would serve to enhance the role of both parents in the early years of child-rearing and may have significant positive effects on the family unit and wider society.

Research on the benefits of paternity leave in other countries does not suggest any negative economic impact, as is often argued by business lobby groups. In addition, research also suggests that paternity leave strengthens the relationship between fathers and children and increase a father’s continued involvement with his children in later years. There is even some evidence of improved cognitive skills in children as a result of increased fatherly involvement thanks to paternity leave.

With little potential risks associated with the introduction of dual parental leave and many potential benefits, perhaps the time for serious discussion on paternity leave in the UAE has finally arrived.

James Ryan is an associate professor of human resource management and organisational behaviour at UAE University

Biog

Mr Kandhari is legally authorised to conduct marriages in the gurdwara

He has officiated weddings of Sikhs and people of different faiths from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russia, the US and Canada

Father of two sons, grandfather of six

Plays golf once a week

Enjoys trying new holiday destinations with his wife and family

Walks for an hour every morning

Completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Loyola College, Chennai, India

2019 is a milestone because he completes 50 years in business

 

EMILY IN PARIS: SEASON 3

Created by: Darren Star

Starring: Lily Collins, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Ashley Park

Rating: 2.75/5

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

The winners

Fiction

  • ‘Amreekiya’  by Lena Mahmoud
  •  ‘As Good As True’ by Cheryl Reid

The Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award

  • ‘Syrian and Lebanese Patricios in Sao Paulo’ by Oswaldo Truzzi;  translated by Ramon J Stern
  • ‘The Sound of Listening’ by Philip Metres

The George Ellenbogen Poetry Award

  • ‘Footnotes in the Order  of Disappearance’ by Fady Joudah

Children/Young Adult

  •  ‘I’ve Loved You Since Forever’ by Hoda Kotb 
How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness'

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams

Rating: 3/5

MATCH INFO

Syria v Australia
2018 World Cup qualifying: Asia fourth round play-off first leg
Venue: Hang Jebat Stadium (Malacca, Malayisa)
Kick-off: Thursday, 4.30pm (UAE)
Watch: beIN Sports HD

* Second leg in Australia scheduled for October 10

Take Me Apart

Kelela

(Warp)

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

THREE

Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5

Getting there

Given its remote location, getting to Borneo can feel daunting even for the most seasoned traveller. But you can fly directly from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan and Sepilok is only half an hour away by taxi. Sandakan has plenty of accommodation options, while Sepilok has a few nature lodges close to the main attractions.

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Company Profile

Company name: Fine Diner

Started: March, 2020

Co-founders: Sami Elayan, Saed Elayan and Zaid Azzouka

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and food delivery

Initial investment: Dh75,000

Investor: Dtec Startupbootcamp

Future plan: Looking to raise $400,000

Total sales: Over 1,000 deliveries in three months

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8

Power: 712hp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 881Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 19.6 l/100km

Price: Dh380,000

On sale: now

PAKISTAN SQUAD

Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (test captain), Babar Azam (T20 captain), Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Roll of Honour, men’s domestic rugby season

West Asia Premiership
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Bahrain

UAE Premiership
Champions: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division 1
Champions: Dubai Sharks
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

UAE Division 2
Champions: Dubai Tigers III
Runners up: Dubai Sharks II

Dubai Sevens
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes