In terms of the BCEA, all female employees can take at least four consecutive months' unpaid maternity leave. But, that's not the only time you're supposed to grant maternity leave.
Is your employee entitled to maternity leave?
According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, you're legally required to grant maternity leave:
#1: To any female employee who's pregnant, regardless of her length of service;
#2: To any employee who adopts a child under the age of two. He/she is entitled to adoption leave and adoption benefits of four months from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF);
#3: If an employee has a miscarriage in her third trimester of pregnancy or bears a stillborn child. She'll be 'entitled to six weeks maternity leave after the miscarriage or stillbirth regardless of whether or not she's started her maternity leave at the time of the miscarriage or stillbirth.
And don't forget, for you to make arrangements regarding your employee's absence, she must notify you in writing of the dates she intends to begin maternity leave and return to work. She must do this at least four weeks before the start of her maternity leave.