Maternity leave is one of the most important interventions for exclusive breastfeeding.
We are lucky enough to live in one of the countries in the world in which some forms of paid leave are available to working parents. Below is a breakdown of what the law of record, the Labour Relations Act (LRA) 66 of 1995:
For all parents:
- The law protects all working parents from being discriminated against on the basis of their pregnancy, and/or after the birth of their children. The fact that you are planning on or expecting a child or have just become the parent of a child is not grounds for you to be treated unfairly at work.
- The law requires employers to provide a work environment that is safe for all employees. If you are pregnant, this may mean a reassessment of some of your work, if it involves any potential hazards. If you’re unsure, this is one of the things you need to discuss with your healthcare provider and your line manager early on.
For pregnant women:
- You are entitled to up to 4 consecutive months/16 weeks’ maternity leave. These months can begin up to 4 weeks before the due date provided to you by your healthcare worker or at a later date. If your healthcare provider thinks your leave must begin at an earlier date, they may advise you and your employer of this in writing.
- The law does not require your employer to pay you during this period. You are, however, entitled to apply for and receive maternity benefits from the national unemployment insurance fund (UIF).
- You are entitled to return to your job after your maternity leave.
- As of November 2017, fathers are entitled to up to 10 days of paternity leave.
- If you’re a dad, you won’t need to take days from your family responsibility leave – you now have a distinct 10 days following the arrival of your child. Score! (Tiny steps…)
Are you a mom who has recently come back from maternity leave? How have you found the transition? Share your breastfeeding story on 0663204477 and you could win a fabulous prize from Hannah Grace, SA’s leading maternity clothing brand.