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Unions and NGO's want 11 months' maternity leave! Do you know your current legal duties when it comes to maternity leave?

by , 01 August 2014
Trade unions and nongovermental organisations (NGOs) are calling for 11 months' maternity leave. They believe at the moment, maternity leave is too short and doesn't allow new moms to bond with their children.

The City Press reports that this call comes after a recent conference where unions and NGOs noted inconsistencies in legislation and bargaining agreements, which made women feel punished for having children.

This call by unions and NGO's has put sharp focus on maternity leave in South Africa. We'll certainly watch this closely because any change in legislation will affect you. In the meantime, take a look at your legal duties when it comes to maternity leave so you can comply with labour law.

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Here are your legal duties when it comes to maternity leave


In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), all female employees can take at least four consecutive months' unpaid maternity leave.
 

Your employee's maternity leave can start at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth, unless otherwise agreed. Or on a date from which a medical practitioner or midwife certifies it's necessary for her health or that of her unborn child.
 

When it comes to maternity leave, always remember that in terms of the BCEA, your employee may not work for six weeks after delivery, unless a doctor or midwife certifies that she is fit to do so.
 

So does your employee have any duties when it comes to maternity leave?


Yes.
 

In this article, we explain that for you to make arrangements regarding your employee's absence, she must notify you in writing (unless she can't) of the dates on which she intends to begin maternity leave and return to work.
 

There you have it. We'll watch this call for 11 months' maternity leave very closely and inform you of any developments. In the meantime, stick to your legal duties when it comes to maternity leave.


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