In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (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.
You must also grant maternity leave in these three instances
According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, you're legally required to grant maternity leave:
So when should an employee start her maternity leave?
There's no outright ban against a pregnant woman working in the four weeks leading up to the birth of her baby.
Instead, this 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
Your employee must also notify you in writing of the dates she intends to begin maternity leave and return to work.
And she must do this at least four weeks before the start of her maternity leave. This will allow you to make arrangements regarding your employee's absence.
There you have it. Royalty or not, your employees are entitled to maternity leave. Knowing your obligations regarding it will ensure you're not in direct violation of the BCEA.