A basic guide to Maternity Leave

Our summary of the basic guide to key topics about Maternity Leave within the labour legislation according to The South African Department of Labour.

The Department of Labour offers basic guides to key topics within labour legislation. Read on for our summary of Maternity Leave.

Certain procedures must be followed when either an employer or worker wishes to terminate employment.

Who can apply for Maternity Leave?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employers and workers, but not:

members of the:
- National Defense Force
- National Intelligence Agency
- South African Secret Service
- unpaid volunteers working for charity

The section of the Act that regulate working hours does not apply to:

- workers in senior management
- sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours
- workers who work less than 24 hours in a month
- workers who earn more than an amount stated in terms of section 6 (3) of the Act
- workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions
- workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions

Number of leave days

Pregnant workers are entitled to at least 4 consecutive months of maternity leave.

Timing of leave

Workers may take maternity leave 1 month before their due date, or earlier or later as agreed or required for health reasons.

Workers may not go back to work within 6 weeks after the birth unless their doctor or midwife say it is safe.

Safety of Pregnant or Nursing Workers

A worker who is pregnant or nursing may not do work that is unsafe for her or her child.

Source: South African Department of Labour