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Maternity Leave and Benefits

Information on the benefits available to parents of newborn babies: who can apply and how to register for them...

Pregnant women are entitled to four months of maternity leave which starts at one month before their due date. However, there are exceptions to this rule for some categories of work, including emergency work, workers in senior management and those who work less than 24 hours a month.

Entitlements include at least four consecutive months of maternity leave. Workers may not go back to work within six weeks of giving birth unless this is agreed by the doctor or midwife. Mothers who are pregnant or nursing may not do work which is unsafe for their child. It is not a requirement that employers pay workers during maternity leave; however, some companies may offer maternity benefit packages and it is possible to claim maternity benefit from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

  • For information about protection of mothers during pregnancy at work: Click here
Maternity Benefits

Workers on maternity leave may claim from their UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund). This can be applied for and is paid by local labour centres.

Applications for UIF may be made by any workers except:

  • Those who work less than 24 hours a month for an employer
  • Students
  • Public servants
  • Foreigners working on a contract
  • Workers who receive a state pension
  • Workers who are paid commission only

The category of public servants includes people working under Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) arrangements. It is also not possible to claim under the following circumstances:

  • If already claiming from the Compensation Fund for an occupational injury or disease
  • If already claiming from any other fund
  • If suspended from claiming due to fraud

Making a claim

Claims for UIF must be submitted at least eight weeks before the baby is born and workers can claim for 17 weeks after the birth. Mothers who miscarry in the third trimester or have a stillborn baby may claim for six weeks.

Claims must be submitted at local labour centres; they issue the necessary application forms and the benefit can be collected from a labour centre of choice. No tax is payable on benefits.

For information on applications and the relevant forms go to the nearest labour centre or Click here.

Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits

The amount of maternity benefit received from the UIF depends on the credit that has built up from working. To gain maximum credit it is necessary to have worked continuously for four years. The benefit ranges from 38 percent of a salary for highly paid workers to 58 percent for the lowest paid workers. The claims officer at local labour centres can provide information about the amount of benefit to which workers are entitled.

  • For more information about maternity benefits and how to claim: Click here
Employment Protection

It is illegal to fire or discriminate against women who are pregnant. This is stated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which states that women are entitled to return to their jobs after maternity leave.

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