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    FNC call to cut women’s retirement age and pensions

    The Federal National Council (FNC) on Tuesday voted and approved a new proposal for the Government to consider decreasing the retirement age and pensions of UAE women nationals.

    The proposal was unanimously approved and voted on by the house during Tuesday’s debate chaired by Speaker Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr and attended by Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, who is also the deputy head of the Federal Pensions Authority.

    The minister during the debate told the house, the government has spent a lot of money on the training and education of women employees and their early retirement would be a waste of money and a financial burden.

    He also said council members saw it fit to increase the years of service from 15 to 20 in 2007, and tie retirement to the age of 50, but now they were going back on this proposal, asking the years of service to be capped at 15, with no particular age for retirement.

    “It is unfair that trained women would leave work after the country has spent a lot of money towards educating them, and it would also mean that the authority would spend more on their pension,” Al Tayer told the house.

    The issue was raised by member Misbah Saeed Al Kitbi, asking for lowering the retirement tenure of women employees, particularly in the public sector.

    Al Kitbi, a member for Sharjah, argued women needed more time at home to look after their children to reduce the dependence on housemaids.

    “More often we come across media reports of children falling from buildings because of little care from housemaids. Yes, women have achieved a lot in all spectrums of life — pilots, doctors, diplomats and economists. It is appreciated and we our society is thankful to them. But where is their basic role at home? And who looks after their children,” he asked the chair and the minister.

    However, the minister opposing the lowering of women’s retirement age said it was a problematic situation since women life expectancy was three years greater than man, and “in fact many countries are increasing the retirement age of women, allowing them a greater role in the social and economic development of their societies,” said Al Tayer.

    Al Kitbi further added the retirement would only be an option for those wanted it and an earlier retirement age would boost the population of the country.

    Another critical issue that came under heated debate was nationalisation (Emiratisation) of jobs in the private sector. Members were critical to government efforts to encourage nationals to take private sector jobs.

    In a report, the council said the presence of Emiratis in the private sector was almost at zero level and the Government has to come up with an effective policy to attract UAE nationals to take up private sector jobs.

    The issue was raised in a motion tabled by ten members arguing little was being done by the Federal Government to increase the number of Emiratis in the private sector.

    Responding to the queries from the members Chairman of Federal Government Human Resources Authority Humaid Mohammed Al Qattami, who is also the Minister of Health, told the house a mechanism was underway to encourage more and more UAE nationals to take up private sector jobs.

    (Khaleej Times)

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