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Mama Mia... Read this to prevent maternity leave dilemmas today!

by , 17 May 2013
South Africa offers better working conditions than the US... when it comes to leave, that is. First, it came to light that many American employees show up for work no matter how sick they are, as they're worried they'll lose their jobs as their employers aren't obligated to offer paid sick leave. Now, a study has found that less than a third of US employers offer their pregnant employees paid maternity leave! Here are your obligations when it comes to maternity leave...

A report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research IWPR has found that there's a huge gap for paid maternity leave in the US labour market.
The US is actually one of just four countries in the world that doesn't provide paid maternity leave to workers. 
Those that DO offer maternity leave offer two weeks' paid maternity leave at best, says HRReporter.
Luckily, things are brighter for expectant mothers in South Africa.
Under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), you're legally obliged to grant four months' consecutive maternity leave, says The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf.
You don't have to pay your employee for the four months' maternity leave you offer…
Note, that's just four months' time off work – you're not legally obliged to pay your employee when she's on maternity leave as she'll be claiming benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) during this time.
But your pregnant employee also has obligations.
For example, she must notify you in writing of the dates she intends to begin maternity leave and return to work at least four weeks before the start of her maternity leave so that you can ensure productivity doesn't suffer in her absence, says FSPBusiness.
Revealed: The consideration your pregnant employee will appreciate when she returns to work
And don't forget that when the new mother returns to work, you may need to implement time-out arrangements that allow new mothers to express and then store their breast-milk while at work, especially as the World Health Organisation has announced new mothers should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life.
If you know what the law says when it comes to maternity leave, you'll be able to prevent any dilemmas from arising when your employees announce they're pregnant!

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