Muscat: The new draft social protection law aims to raise the fully-paid maternity leave period from 50 to 98 days for both Omani citizens and expatriates. This announcement was made by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance.
His Excellency Nasser Al-Jashmi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance confirmed during the 'Together We Advance forum' that the new draft social protection law raised the period of maternity leave to 98 days. It was also added that the system will bear the payment of wages during the leave and not the employer. This decision is made in order to prevent any kind of bias towards women employees.
The current period of maternity leave is for a period of 50 days only as stipulated in Article (83) of the Labour Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. (35/2003) and its amendments. It is also noteworthy that the maternity leave is not to be confused with sick leave.
Article (84) of the same law also states that the employer should not dismiss the female worker due to her absence due to a disease as a result of pregnancy and childbirth that is certified by a medical professional. The female workers should also not be dismissed from the job due to sickness if she does not exceed a leave period of 6 months.
It is worth mentioning that the working woman is entitled to this leave three times throughout her period of service with the employer, meaning that if she moved with another employer, she is entitled to three maternity leave even if she had benefited from it with the previous employer.
The following question may arise: Is the working woman entitled to maternity leave once she joins the employer, or does a period of time have to pass from her joining the work before she is entitled to this leave?
To answer this question, we return to the provisions of Article (83) of the Labor Law in its last amendment, which did not specify a period that the working woman must spend in the service of the employer before she is entitled to leave in the event of childbirth or childbirth, meaning that she is entitled to this leave as soon as she gives birth, even if this is during the first month of working for the employer.