Maternity leave is for months unpaid leave. The maternity leave should commence one month before the expected date of birth of the child, and that the mother may not return to work for six weeks after the birth of the child. These periods may be varied upon written permission from a doctor or midwife. The Act does not stipulate at what stage of the pregnancy the employee is obliged to inform the employer of her pregnant condition.
The Act stipulates only that the employee must notify the employer in writing of the date on which the employee intends to commence maternity leave, and the date on which the employee intends to return to work.
The Act stipulates further that the above a written notice must be given to the employer at least four weeks before the commencement of the maternity leave. An employer is obliged to keep the employee’s job open, and no employee may be dismissed on grounds of pregnancy, or for any reason in relation to pregnancy or intended pregnancy. Any arrangements between the employer and employee regarding payment of salary or benefits during maternity leave, remains a matter between employer and employee and has nothing to do with any provision of the Act. The employee must inquire at the Department of Labour regarding maternity benefits payable in terms of UIF.