What an interesting question ladies. Should I pack up and leave, can my employer just let me go, what is my actual rights?
Well on the first instance according to Sub-s. (1) substituted by s. 3 (a) of Act 47 of 2013 (wef 1August 2014).):
“No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including race gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or on any arbitrary ground”.
Thus no discrimination towards pregnant individuals! But taking this into consideration there is still a road to travel. Your company can grant you the
pregnancy leave but… without any remuneration. What now?
A mother is entitled to unpaid maternity leave of four months without having her work being in danger. She can however claim from UIF for 17 weeks at 38% of her salary to 58%. There is a ceiling of R12 478. This is paid tax free to the mother. There are employers that do pay the employee in part or full but this is at the discression of the employer.
The question remain, can the employer terminate someone who is pregnant?
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), the employer may not discriminate against a pregnant woman. Therefore her work is safe as bye the BCEA.
As a matter of precaution employees need to ensure that their employers have registered them for Unemployment Insurance benefits. This will allow them to receive some benefit while on maternity or paternity leave. “Sections 34 and 37 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1966 (Act 30 of 1966), provide for the payment of maternity leave and legislative amendments will be proposed to Cabinet to improve these benefits.
It is important for employers to note that in terms of section 187 (1) (e) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, the dismissal of an employee on account of her pregnancy, intended pregnancy, or any reason related to her pregnancy, is automatically unfair.
The definition of dismissal in section 186 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, includes the refusal to allow an employee to resume work after she has taken maternity leave in terms of any law, collective agreement or her contract. If someone is dismissed for being pregnant, the dismissal may be held to be automatically unfair and the employee will be able to claim reinstatement or up to 24 months’ compensation in the labour court.
I think, taking all into consideration… life and the giving thereof is a miracle. So let us all treat each other in that fashion. Let us as leaders know that we can in a very special way extend this helping hand to the pregnant ladies out there and for our ladies, let us realise that there are wonderful guidelines to abide too. To all have a blessed festive season and we will talk again in the new year!