Employment Law in South Africa

What the Employer Must Know About Maternity Leave

If you are starting a business, it will be best to speak to lawyers familiar with employment law in South Africa to help you operate as an employer within the ethical boundaries of good practice and the boundaries of the law. You need to register as an employer and deal with payroll taxes, UIF, SDL, and Workmen’s Compensation. There is also the question of minimum wages payable according to the industry in which you operate, leave days, maximum work hours, overtime pay, and public holiday work to keep in mind.

Add to the above disciplinary procedures, setting up an employment contract, and having a policy in place for disciplinary action, and you can understand how having legal expertise at hand will help you. The labour attorneys can answer questions such as the ones posted below in-depth, guaranteeing that you will have the capacity to settle on educated choices and meet all the lawful necessities in terms of workplace and employment provision in South Africa.

Some of the frequently asked questions about leave that employees are entitled to are briefly answered below.

How many days maternity leave can a female employee take?

The law provides for a period of four consecutive months.

When does the maternity leave start?

The employee can take her maternity leave four weeks before the expected hospitalisation date. She can do so even earlier if she has a medical certificate stating that is necessary for the health of the mother or child.

Up to when can the employee work?

The employee may not work within six weeks of the expected birth date unless a medical doctor has issued a medical certificate which stipulates that she can do so.

If the employee has a miscarriage, can she still take maternity leave?

If the miscarriage or stillbirth occurs during the last trimester of her pregnancy she can take six weeks of maternity leave from the date of the incident regardless of whether she has already commenced with her maternity leave.

Can the employee simply take the maternity leave or must she notify the employer of her intention?

She must give four weeks’ notice in writing before her maternity leave starts. By law, she must also indicate her intended return date.

Under which employment law is maternity leave governed in South Africa?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 and its amendments.

Is the worker entitled to leave pay during maternity?

It is not compulsory for the employer to pay the employee during the period. However, if a collective bargaining agreement is in place for the specific industry, which stipulates full maternity leave with full payment or partial payment, the employer must adhere to the bargaining council rule.

Can the employee on maternity leave claim from the UIF?

It depends on how many months the employee contributed. If the employee contributed for a period of four months or longer, she is entitled to claim. If the employee works less than 24 hours a week at the employer, she cannot contribute to UIF and can thus cannot claim.

Will the employee get her full salary when she claims from the UIF?

No, the UIF pays maternity benefits ranging from 38 to 60% of the employee’s average remuneration received in the six months prior to claiming.

For how many weeks are maternity benefits paid by the UIF?

A total of 17,32 weeks, but if the employee has a miscarriage, the benefits are paid for a maximum period of six weeks.

These and other employment law-related questions can be answered by our attorneys. We also assist with disciplinary action hearings, CCMA presentation, litigation, and dispute handling.

Get expert legal guidance regarding employment law in South Africa. Contact us at reception@www.allardyce.co.za or on (011) 234 2125.


NB: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.

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