Thinking about having a baby? Read this.
Phume Mthembu, a candidate attorney at MNS Attorneys, explains the maternity rights you need to know when planning to extend your family.
understanding legal jargon can be like trying to understand a foreign language, but it’s important to get a grasp of the law especially when it comes to important life decisions like having a baby.
How are we protected against any form of discrimination at work?
We all have the constitutional right not to be discriminated against,” says Phume. The Labour Relations Act and Employment Equity Act further prohibit any unfair discrimination.
What are my maternity rights?
The law protects women against unfair discrimination arising from prejudices like sexism. And the cornerstone of maternity rights lies in section 187 (1) (e) of the Labour Relations Act no. 66 of 1995. Your employer cannot dismiss you simply because you are pregnant, intending to fall pregnant or any other reason related to pregnancy. This means that your boss cannot fire you because you are physically incapable of doing your job or because you have become physically incapable of doing your job as a result of your pregnancy.
How much maternity leave am I entitled to?
Despite your company’s reservations, you are entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave as stated in section 25 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). The maternity leave may be taken at any time from four weeks prior to the expected date of birth – unless a medical practitioner or a midwife advices otherwise – and you may not return to work for six weeks after the birth of your child, unless a medical practitioner or a midwife advices otherwise.
What if I’m unfairly dismissed?
If your employer contravenes the Labour Relations Act, it will result in an unfair dismissal. If you bring forward this motion then the company bears the onus of proving that a fair reason unrelated to your pregnancy existed.