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Revealed: Your three legal obligations regarding pregnant or breastfeeding employees

by , 02 August 2013
Did you know there are three laws you must abide by to protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employees? Read on to find out what your three legal obligations are so you can comply.

South African labour laws are designed to protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employees. As an employer, your duty is to comply with these laws.

How does the law protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees?

Legal obligation #1

In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), you're required to provide and maintain a work environment that's safe and without risk to the health of all your employees, this includes risks to the reproductive health of employees.

Legal obligation #2

Whilst pregnancy isn't an illness or injury, you need to protect your pregnant employees.

It's for this reason that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) prohibits pregnant and breastfeeding employees from doing work hazardous to themselves or their unborn children, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

Legal obligation #3

The Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees During Pregnancy and After the Birth of a Child requires you to provide employees with protection against potential hazards in their work environment during pregnancy, after the birth of their children and while breastfeeding.

So how do you protect the health of pregnant or breastfeeding employees

You mustn't allow your pregnant or breastfeeding employee to perform work hazardous to her health or the health of her child. This means you must assess and control the risks to the health of the mother and her unborn child.

Remember, 'companies that manage work and family issues well and don't discriminate against pregnant and breastfeeding employees will be assisted in attracting and retaining the best talent, whilst enabling their female staff to fully contribute to the best of their ability,' says the Leaf Service.

So make sure you protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employees by complying with these laws.



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