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How many days maternity leave must you give your employee?

by , 22 July 2013
Royal baby watchers will be delighted to know that the Duchess of Cambridge is in the early stages of labour. According to media reports, the Duchess has been admitted at St Mary's hospital in London in preparation for the birth of her first child. While you watch in anticipation to see whether a future queen or king will be born, you might also be thinking about your employee's pregnancy and how you'll manage it. Read on to find out how to calculate your employee's leave days.

According to the TheGuardian, the first sign the world will see of the birth of the future king of queen of England is when a royal aide leaves the main entrance of the hospital wing bearing a typed medical bulletin signed by doctors at the birth. The aide will take the bulletin to Buckingham Palace by car with police outriders. This bulletin will include the gender, weight and other significant details on the royal baby.

And this announcement will only happen once the Queen and other members of the couple's families have been informed.

While your pregnant employees may not be part of the royal family, they will also need to prepare for their new arrival. And one of those preparations will be to go on maternity leave.

When they do, this will have an effect on your business. And that's why it's important you know how to calculate their maternity leave days correctly so you know when your pregnant employee needs to go on maternity leave and when she needs to come back to work.

Here's how to calculate the maternity leave days you must give your employee

  • You must give at least four consecutive months' maternity leave.
  • 'She can start maternity leave any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth, unless otherwise agreed. Or on a date that a medical practitioner or a midwife certifies is necessary for her or her unborn child's health,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
  • She may not work for six weeks after her child's born, unless a medical practitioner or midwife certifies that she can.

If you're bound by an agreement you've reached with a Bargaining Council, for example, the Metal and Engineering Industry or Furniture Industry, ensure you're aware of the provisions you've agreed to for maternity leave. Some bargaining council agreements give more maternity leave than provided for in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Remember, even if your employee works for you for less than four days a week, she's also entitled to maternity leave. As maternity leave isn't paid leave, she's entitled to the full four months' leave.

In addition, if you choose to grant more maternity leave, make sure you have a maternity leave policy explaining the full benefits of the maternity leave.

Knowing how to manage your employee's pregnancy will ensure you know how to calculate the maternity leave days you must give your employee.

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