Muscat: Whether you are an Omani or an expat, maternity leave is a legal right for mothers-to-be for their own well-being and that of the infant under the law of the country, said a legal expert.
In a series of articles about Oman’s rules and regulations, entitled “Know Oman”, experts guide readers on their rights and responsibilities while working and living in Oman.
Speaking exclusively to Times of Oman, representative of Al Faqih & Co., one of the leading law firms in Oman, explained the law regarding maternity and paternity leaves.
“In line with the international commitment to recognise, promote and protect maternity rights, Oman has passed the Labour Law by Royal Decree No.35/2003. Under Article 83 as contained in Part 5 of the Labour Law of Oman, women working in the private sector are currently entitled to enjoy a special 50-day maternity leave covering periods before and after delivery, with full salary.
“However, this leave cannot be used more than three times during the female employee’s service with the employer, unless she has moved to another firm,” said Yasin Chowdhury, Partner and Head of Corporate Advisory at Al Faqih & Co.
By contrast, Civil Service Law No. 120/2004 allows female employees working in public sectors to take maternity leave up to five times throughout their service, he added.
“There is nothing in the law about paternity leaves but the General Federation of Oman for Trade Union has been successful in making some arrangements in this regard and has managed to strike deals with some companies to self-regulate paternity leaves for their male employees. Under the above scheme, some companies in Oman now grant three-seven days of paternity leave to their male employees,” Chowdhury said.
The maternity protection legislations are based on premises that such protection enables women to combine their reproductive and productive roles successfully and to promote equal opportunities and treatment in employment and occupation, without prejudice to health or economic security. Moreover, it is only natural for women to need rest to regain their health and strength after childbirth, as well as to take care of the newborn and breastfeed him/her.
“Article 84 of the Labour Law of Oman provides further protection to a pregnant woman in that the employer shall not dismiss a woman worker for her absence from work due to an illness which is attributable to the pregnancy or delivery and is confirmed by a medical certificate, provided that the total period of such absence shall not exceed six months,” the legal expert said.
He added that the Ministry of Manpower has been maintaining its firm position to making the workplace safe and secure for pregnant women workers as well.
“In its Ministerial Decree No 286/2008, Chapter 3 on Protection of Women, Article 28, the employer is required to take precautions not to expose women to any conditions that may directly or indirectly lead to negative impacts on the safe delivery of the child or the health or safety of the foetus or the infant. Article 118 of the Labour Law clearly states that anyone who contravenes the provisions of Part 5 shall be punished with a fine not exceeding OMR500,” the expert explained.
Chowdhury said that the same article also states that if the previous offense is committed again within one year from the date of the judgment, the employer may be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month.
Al Faqih & Co. ([email protected]) is a premier commercial law firm based in Muscat consisting of barristers, consultants, and advocates with vast experience in corporate and commercial practice, including labour and employment law in Oman.
The objectives of the Firm are, inter alia, to provide a full spectrum of corporate and commercial legal services to a variety of clientele in an efficient, effective and timely manner. It has specialisation in litigation & arbitration, banking & finance, international trade, shipping & aviation, private equity, and foreign investment laws.