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Today we answer the three most common questions you have about maternity leave...

by , 09 April 2014
51% of new mothers don't get any paid maternity leave, and that means they have to take unpaid leave. Some of them even have to quit and some lose their jobs. Don't lose a valuable employee just because she's fallen pregnant. But whether you give paid maternity leave or not, you may still have some questions about what else your employee is entitled to. Here are the answers to question you may have about the maternity leave policy in your company.

Can my employee resign when she's on maternity leave?
If your employee is on maternity leave, we're willing to bet you've wondered if she'll even come back after tasting how great life is spending time at home with her beloved newborn.
Truth is, most mothers only realise how precious time with their little one is after they've given birth... They start worrying about not being there to witness their baby take their first step, say their first word or cut their first tooth.
But as exciting as this time is for your employee, it can be a stressful time for you...
After all, not only do you need to look for a temp to fill your employee's role, you'll probably have to do piles of research trying to find answers to your maternity leave questions.
Sure, you can ask your questions on various HR websites and forums out there, but not only will you wait days for a response, when you eventually get an answer, how will you know it's legally correct according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and other labour legislation?
Revealed: The answers to the three most common questions about maternity Leave
According to the Labour Bulletin, there's plenty of confusion about what an employee on maternity leave is entitled to. 
The first question employers ask is do employees still get all their normal benefits of annual and paid sick leave while on Maternity Leave? 
The short answer is yes. Your employee will still get all of her normal benefits even while she's on maternity leave. She can even get a salary increase during her leave. This means is that when she comes back she will still have her normal leave owed to her. 
The second question is if you have to pay your employees their full salary while they're on maternity leave? 
The answer: No. Her full salary isn't part of your employee's Maternity Leave entitlement. But she can claim Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB). As an employer, you have to enable her to UIB during this time. 
The last of these commonly asked questions is whether an employee can refund you an amount from her UIF if you are paying her, her full salary? 
Essentially, this comes down to an agreement between you and your employee.  If you can both draw up a signed agreement, it's completely legal. But how do you do this?
Not everyone is entitled to family responsibility leave...
You probably know your employees are allowed three days paid family responsibility leave a year. But did you know you only have to give this to employees who've been working for you for a certain number of days a week and months? Anyone working for you for less than this isn't entitled to these three days.
And then of course, there's the infamous 'my nanny's off sick so I need to stay home and look after little Johnny'. 
But did you know, you don't have to give time off for this? In fact, there are only three instances when you have to give family responsibility leave. 
So when must you grant family responsibility leave? Click here to get your hands on Your Guide to Family Responsibility Leave.
We'll give you everything you need to know about it, answer all your questions. Find out here…
Keep your employees' Maternity Leave entitlements in mind 
The South African Labour Guide says that while an employee is on maternity leave her employment contract is unchanged. This is regardless of whether or not you continue to pay her salary or not. 
So although you may not be paying your employee, she'll still have sick and annual leave accrual. Keep this in mind to protect your expecting employees and ensure you're following your legal obligations.

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