Expecting a new little bundle of joy is an exciting time, but this happiness may be dampened if you depend heavily on the income that you bring home from your place of employment. You’re likely wondering how much paid maternity leave you’re entitled to, whether or not your employer may replace you upon hearing about your pregnancy, or whether you’re eligible to apply for benefits through the UIF. Fear not – we’ve got all the answers to your questions below.

How Much Maternity Leave Am I Entitled to? 

All female employees are entitled to 4 months of maternity leave. You may start your maternity leave as early as 4 weeks before you give birth to your baby (or earlier if your doctor believes that you are no longer fit to work).

When Can I Return to Work?

You may choose to take less maternity leave than the 4 months that are granted to you by law, however, you are required to take a minimum of 6 weeks’ maternity leave after the birth of your baby. Therefore, the earliest you can return to work is after 6 weeks.

Is My Employer Obliged to Pay Me My Salary When on Maternity Leave?

No, your employer does not have to pay you anything while you are away on maternity leave. Having said that, many employers do go the extra mile and pay a portion of your salary. Some may even pay your full salary. It all depends on the employer and their internal policies.

What if My Employer Fires Me After Announcing My Pregnancy or While I’m on Maternity Leave?

This is against the law. An employer may not terminate your employment because you are pregnant or while you are on maternity leave.

Can I Claim from the UIF?

You can claim from the Maternity Benefit Fund of the UIF if you have been contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for at least 6 months. For every 6 months that you have been contributing to the UIF, you will receive 1 month of paid maternity leave. However, it is important to note that the UIF will not pay out your full salary. The percentage you will get depends on how much you earn. The more you earn, the lower the percentage will be. Most women can expect to receive anything between 38 – 60% of their typical earnings.

So, there you have it. If you are a SAEWA member and have any queries regarding maternity leave, do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 086 077 2392.