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Can you retrench an employee while she's on maternity leave?

by , 30 July 2015
You own a clothing company that has been facing financial difficulties for months. As a result, you have to retrench a number of employees. But you have a slight problem...

One of the employees you need to retrench is on maternity leave. Her name is Mary. Can you retrench Mary while she's on maternity leave?

The answer is: Yes! You can. Let me elaborate...

You can to retrench an employee on maternity leave

There's nothing in law that prevents an employer from taking this action. But you must, however, have genuine reasons for doing so.
You'll also have to allow Mary to state her case. In writing is best, but telephonically is acceptable too.
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Also, making sure you comply with the necessary retrenchment procedures is important.

To read more about the retrenchment process, go here.

What to do if the employee fights back

Mary might fight back and say your decision is unfair. She might allege that you're retrenching her because she's pregnant.
If she does, you must prove that the real reason isn't her pregnancy. 

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