MATERNITY LEAVE

How to claim maternity benefits 

MATERNITY LEAVE

Maternity leave is the period of time when an expecting mother takes off work and stops working to have and care for her new born baby. When should you tell your employer you are expecting, how much maternity leave are you entitled to and how do you claim for maternity benefits?

maTERNITY LEAVE: hOW TO CLAIM MATERNITY BENEFITS AND MATERNITY LEAVE

MATERNITY LEAVE

Great news! You are expecting a baby, such an exciting time in your life and now you need to break the news to your boss and employer.

WHAT IS MATERNITY LEAVE?

Maternity leave is the period of time when an expecting mother takes off and stops working to have and care for her new born baby.

WHEN DO YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR EMPLOYER YOU ARE PREGNANT?

The employee is obliged to give the employer one months notice of commencement of maternity. You as the employee are under no obligation to let you employer know before then that you are expecting, however it would be etiquette to inform your employer sooner rather than later to allow them enough time to make the necessary arrangements to ensure their work does continue in your absence.

The employee must notify the employer in writing of the date on which the employee intends to commence maternity leave and the date of return. 

HOW MUCH MATERNITY LEAVE ARE YOU ENTITLED TO?

A pregnant employee is entitled to four (4) consecutive months maternity leave.

Maternity leave can begin up to four (4) weeks before the expected date of birth unless otherwise agreed, or if the employee is required to do so for health reasons.

An employer may not require an employee to return to work for six (6) weeks after the birth of her child, however the employee may choose to return to work if a medical doctor or midwife certifies that she is fit to do so.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR JOB WHILE YOU ARE ON MATERNITY LEAVE?

Employers are obliged to keep the job open of the employee who is on maternity leave. The employee may not be dismissed on grounds of pregnancy. The employer may fill the job post temporarily whilst the employee is on maternity leave.

WILL I GET PAID WHILE ON MATERNITY LEAVE?

Employers are not obliged to remunerate employees for maternity leave, in this case the employee is able to claim maternity benefits through the Department of Labour or UIF Department. 

Some employers do remunerate in full or in partial for maternity leave, this benefit is dependent on the terms agreed to in the employment contract.

HOW TO CLAIM MATERNITY BENEFITS?

If your maternity leave is unpaid and you have been contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) you are able to claim from the maternity benefit fund. 

An employee is eligible for a maternity between of between 38% to 60% of their monthly remuneration depending on the level of income.

CLAIMING MATERNITY BENEFITS:

If workers want to claim maternity benefits they should make use of the following steps:

Step 1: Complete the documentation needed to claim maternity benefits

Step 2: Go to the nearest UIF/ Labour center 

Employees wanting to claim maternity benefits must go to the nearest Labour center/UIF department themselves and hand in the documentation.

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