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Granting Pam maternity leave isn't your only legal company obligation. You also need to protect her before and after the birth of her child

by , 11 November 2014
Pam, your sales rep, tells you she's pregnant.

Because you're aware of your legal obligation, you grant her four months maternity leave.
You tell her she must inform you when she intends to take the time off so you can make plans for when she's away.

While this is all good and well, you need to know that granting Pam four months maternity leave is just one of the many legal obligations you have towards her.

You also need to protect her before and after the birth of her child.

Read on to find out more about this so you can comply with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

 

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After you grant Pam maternity leave, make sure you protect her

 
According to Section 26(1) of the BCEA, you can't allow a pregnant employee, or an employee who's nursing her child, to perform work hazardous to her or the health of her child.
 
This means you have to give her 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.

When it comes to protecting Pam before and after the birth of her child, the Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees During Pregnancy and After the Birth of a Child, says you must:
 
  • Identify, record and regularly review potential risks to pregnant and breastfeeding employees; and
 
  • Arrange for your employee if she's breast-feeding to have breaks of 30 minutes twice per day for breast-feeding or expressing milk each working day for the first six months of the child's life.
 
For further information on what the code says about pregnant and breastfeeding employee's health and safety requirements, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

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