Saudi to grant 10-week paid maternity leave

Riyadh, Sep 10 (IANS) New changes to Saudi Arabia’s labour laws coming into force next year include 10 weeks fully paid maternity leave for women, beginning a maximum of four weeks before the probable date of birth, the media reported on Thursday.

Women would also be allowed to extend their maternity leave for an extra month without pay, Arab News reported.

If a woman gives birth to a sick child or one with special needs that requires constant monitoring, then she would have the right to have an extra one month fully paid, with the possibility of a further one-month extension without pay.

The amendments include 15 days’ fully paid leave for non-Muslim women who are widowed.

The labour ministry said these amendments also take into account the needs of men. A man is given three days paternity leave.

In addition, a man who loses his wife or family member or is marrying, is entitled to five days off with pay.

Penalties for those failing to comply include a fine, closure of the establishment for up to 30 days or permanent closure. Penalties would increase for repeated offences, the ministry added.

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