Family comes first

Family comes first
Your rights to maternity leave

When you are caught between your baby and your boss, remember that maternity leave laws make sure you do not have to choose. Family comes first and your job is legally protected throughout.

Nadia Hadebe
Nadia Hadebe - Legal Advisor
3 March 2020 | 3 minute read
Lts Feb 2020 Newsletter Banner Images Sized For Website

There is no tougher or more rewarding job than becoming a mother. However, not only does your body need to recover from having been the home for a new life over the last nine months, but your mind, feelings and brain also need time to adjust to all these new changes. 

Nevertheless, sometimes society, and especially the workplace, does not value just how important motherhood is.

Don’t worry… The law does!

The South African courts will protect your rights to have time off work after giving birth or adopting a baby.

This means that the law wants to make sure that you put your wellbeing first.

Health and Maternity Leave

Psychological studies show that it can take a woman up to a year to adjust emotionally to becoming a mother.

If you return to work too early, you are at risk of getting postpartum depression – this is a serious illness where the chemicals in your brain get mixed and you struggle to control your thoughts and feelings in a way that feels manageable.

Bonding with your baby is key to their future development and health. They need time to cuddle and snuggle, to have you tuck them in to sleep and stimulate their senses. The longer you have time to do this in their first few months on this planet, the easier it will make your journey of motherhood in the future.

Maternity leave also allows you to more easily breastfeed your child for longer. If breastfeeding is possible for you, research shows it is best for your baby.

One of the most difficult adjustments is the dramatic break in your sleep patterns. Your body cannot cope with being up all night with your baby and then being expected to be at work all day. Maternity leave gives you time to find the balance.

The Law and Maternity Leave

New mothers have the legal right to get four months of maternity leave. This means that they can stop working for four months to take care of their babies, and they will have their jobs available when they come back.

However, the law does not state that their employer needs to pay them during these four months. Because of this Legal&Tax now provide the maternity benefit which means you receive a premium holidayTs&Cs apply on your legal plan while on maternity leave.

This means that you claim Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) maternity benefits through the Department of Labour. We will assist you with claiming your UIF benenfit too.

The UIF will pay you out 66 percent of your salary during the period of time in which you take your maternity leave.

You can apply for your UIF benefits eight weeks before delivery and up to 12 months after giving birth.

You need to bring various documents to the labour department in order to apply.

The law protects both mom and dad

Parental leave is granted to other parents besides the biological mother. This includes fathers, and parents involved in adoption and surrogacy. All these parents get ten consecutive (all in a row) day’s unpaid leave. Parents are entitled to take the leave once a calendar year and they must apply for it from their employer.

Remember, according to various labour laws, no employee may be discriminated against or fired because of a pregnancy or after having given birth. This includes both mothers and fathers.

How Legal&Tax will help you with Maternity Leave

Any members on maternity leave will be given a four month consecutive premium holiday on their policy as main members. This applies as long as their premiums from the previous 12 months are fully paid up.

We will also assist you during the process of claiming from the UIF during your maternity leave.

If you are unsure as to whether your work’s policy on maternity or parental leave is fair or not, we will be able to advise you.

If you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, you will also be able to access our TraumaAssist benefit.

With Legal&Tax you're not alone

Mothers give so much care to others. Here at Legal&Tax Services, as your trusted companion through life, we are here to give you back some expert care too!

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