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Did you know: You have a duty to protect your employee before and after the birth of her child?

by , 07 April 2014
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) is quite strict when it comes to the well-being of pregnant women and their unborn babies. In fact, the Act requires you, the employer, to protect your employee before and after the birth of her child. If you fail to do this, you'll jeopardise the health of your employees. Don't take that risk. Continue reading to find out what you must do to comply with this legal requirement so you can avoid harsh penalties from the DoL.

Here's what you must do to protect your employee before and after the birth of her child

One of the things you must do to protect your employee before and after the birth of her child is to grant her four months maternity leave.

But it doesn't end there.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says that Section 26 (1) of the BCEA states that 'you may NOT require or allow a pregnant employee, or an employee who's nursing her child, to perform work hazardous to her or the health of her child.'

Note: This rule applies even if an employee wants to work in these hazardous conditions.

You have to give your employee a suitable alternative position for a period of six months after the birth of her child if:

  • She performs night work (between 18h00 and 06h00), or
  • Her work poses a danger to her health or safety, or that of her child, and
  • If it's practical for you to do so.

And that's not only the BCEA that has something to say about protecting employees.


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The Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of a Child says you must:

#1: Identify; record and regularly review the following:

  • Potential risks to pregnant and breastfeeding employees; and
  • Protective measures and adjustments to working arrangements for pregnant and breast-feeding employees.

#2: Where appropriate, maintain a list positions that don't carry any risks for pregnant or breast-feeding employees.

#3: Inform employees about hazards to pregnant and breast-feeding employees and the importance of immediately notifying the company of their pregnancy.

#4: Keep a record of every notification of pregnancy.

#5: When an employee tells you she's pregnant, you must evaluate her situation in the workplace. To do so, do the following:

  • Have an examination of an employee's physical condition by a qualified medical professional;
  • Evaluate an employee's job; and
  • Workplace practices and potential workplace exposures that may affect her.

#6: If the evaluation reveals there's a risk to the health or safety of the pregnant employee or the foetus, you must:

  • Inform your employee of the risk; and
  • After consulting with her and her representative, if any, determine what steps you should take to prevent her exposure to the risk by adjusting her working conditions.

#7: Arrange for pregnant and breast-feeding employees to be able to attend antenatal and postnatal clinics as required during pregnancy and after birth.

#8: Arrange for employees who are breast-feeding to have breaks of 30minutes twice a day for breast-feeding or expressing milk each working day for the first six months of the child's life.

There you have it. Now that you know what you must do to protect your employee before and after the birth of her child, make sure you comply so you can avoid penalties.



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