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Just because they're not royalty, doesn't mean employees aren't entitled to follow the Duchess of Cambridge's example and go on maternity leave...

by , 14 June 2013
Yesterday, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge and mother to the heir to the British throne, marked the end of her royal duties by christening a Royal Princess cruise ship. This is Catherine's final official solo engagement before she goes on maternity leave, ahead of the birth of her first child with husband Prince William next month, reports All4women. While pregnant employees in your workplace may not be royalty, they're entitled by law to maternity leave. And that's just one of your obligations. Here are your other obligations regarding 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.

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:

  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.

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.



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