Our Department of Labour will be able to talk to all mothers about the maternity leave law and common benefits and let them know where they stand should they be expecting a child. These laws and benefits will be able to help pregnant women plan their time at home and away from their place of work. The thing is that pregnant women in SA are entitled to take four months leave when they are pregnant. The right way of doing this is the mother should start her leave a month before the child is due and three months after the child is born. You will get many employers that will make up their own laws, and tell you differently. So make sure that you know what the law is.
The Department of labour law all says that when it comes to maternity leave law and common benefits, mothers do not have to return to their place of work within 6-weeks after the child is born, unless this is approved by doctors. Also, there are a few businesses that the laws and benefits do not apply to, and you will be able to find a list of these businesses in the BCEA (Basic-Conditions-of-Employment-Act). The Defense Force, the Intelligence Agency and the Secret Service in South Africa are also included in the BCEA.
If you work in any of these fields, you have to approach the employer and negotiate leave that will benefit both sides. If there are any disputes, you should approach the labour department so they can resolve this issue. If you are employed in a chemical factory or are a miner, the law stipulates that you may not work in these conditions if unsafe for your child. If you work in an unsafe and dangerous industry, for your protection, it is important that you are aware of the maternity leave law and common benefits.