Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Unfair maternity leave

Anees Sultan has a good article in this week's TheWeek about maternity leave. He touches upon a extremely controversial issue using a real life example from his workplace, but he stays away from the contentious issue of private vs public sector maternity leave.

According to the Omani labor law, in the private sector women are given two options for maternity leave:

  • 42 day unpaid leave
  • Or she can consider he maternity leave to be sick leave of up to 70 days with proportional salary as follows: 14 days with full pay, next 14 days at 75% pay, 14 days 50% pay and finally 28 days at 25% pay.

Most private companies give their female employees an extra option which is 39 days off with full pay. This no different than option 2 above since the woman still has to sacrifice all her sick days. The total pay in the 70 day option is equivalent of 38.5 days. In other words go give birth and come back in 39 days and you will be paid in full for the whole period, or go away for 70 days but you will only be paid for 39 days which will be spread out over the whole leave.

The catch: by taking all that sick leave the woman would have no more sick days available for the rest of the year and if she ever gets sick she'll have to have it deducted from her pay. Worse, to get these 70 or 39 days off to give birth, she needs to have not taken any sick days before the delivery. In other words she has to work until the day she gives birth! If she wants any more time with her baby beyond that she better have her annual leave days saved up. However, another catch: most companies don't let you carry leave days forward from one year to the next. So you better prepare your pregnancies or else you can find yourself pregnant with no days off available. Imagine that, give birth and come back in 39 days and if your baby ever gets sick and you need to skip work to look after him it gets docked from your pay.

Meanwhile, women who work in the public sector get 50 days of fully paid maternity leave plus whatever sick leave their doctor is willing to give them plus their accumulated annual leave (and they get more leave days than the private sector as it is).

Anees ends his article with:

Maybe it should be mothers, or leading women in our society who should be raising this issue. For example, why didn't a woman write this article?



illogicist said...

I dont remember which country it was ( France I think) that gives them a couple of years maternity leave...something like that. I think the costs and benefits of maternity leave are a lot wider than just days missed in the workplace. This is the upbringing of the future generation.

DevilishAngel said...

I feel sorry for all you pregnant women in the Sultanate of the O. I Understand that you are expecting Mrs. Muscati. Allah ygawmch bissalama..

Am new to this world, so I just thought I'd drop a line and say hey.

Wardat_il'7leej said...

The situation is know by women working in both the private and public sector, yet as you said it hasn’t caused enough of a stir to be considered as a problem, even though i know of women who have been screaming in vain about the leave they are allowed to take. I think that whatever women have at present they should consider yourself lucky, in my line of work we don’t get anything! Ya you heard me..nada...the days you want to take would be taken out of 10day sick leave and a employees annual leave. Women..count yourselves lucky

muscati said...

Warda - don't you work in Oman? If so then how can you not be allowed any.

Wardat_il'7leej said...

I do work in Oman, yet not for an Omani orgnaization :)

muscati said...

I thought all employers in Oman have to comply with Omani labor laws regardless of where they're from.

Wardat_il'7leej said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wardat_il'7leej said...

Not in this aspect

OceanDream said...

Maternity leave laws in Oman are in no way fair. And the way some bosses react to you asking for a day off or even a one hour leave form work to take your sick child to hospital is unacceptable. They look down on you. My old boss was like that with my collegues. Ofcourse I haven't gone through that yet, but I know I'd have a thing or two to say to him when its my baby we are talking about!

The amount of issues I need to bring out in Majlis Al Dawla are growing by the day :)

Seriously though, its up to us women to fight for our rights, no one else will do so for us. I guess bringing up the topic here is a good start, so was the article by Anees in The Week, but we still have a long way to go.

M-Pac said...


Talk to the women members of Majlis al Shurra. Maybe they will help.


dervish said...

The 39 to 42 days leave part is about standard. What I take issue with is that these should not count against a woman's sick days. That's ridiculous!

Family should be of primary importance, anything else is unislamic.