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Home EFC News AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW GOVERNING MATERNITY BENEFITS
AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW GOVERNING MATERNITY BENEFITS PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 14:00
A. INTRODUCTION

i. Two Acts of Parliament were passed, one amending the Shop & Office Employees Act, [Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) (Amendment) Act, No. 14 of 2018] and the other, the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, [Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, No. 15 of 2018]  for the purpose of enhancing maternity benefits for female employees.
ii. Several disparities which existed between the maternity leave entitlements and benefits granted in terms of the Shop & Office Employees Act and the Maternity Benefits Ordinance have been removed by the amendments to the respective laws.

iii. The amendments to the law were passed by Parliament with the objective of ensuring that the statutes in relation to maternity benefits in the country fall in line with the provisions of the International Labour Organization Convention No. 103 on Maternity Benefits which the country ratified in 1995.

The salient features of the amendments are as follows

B. FEMALE EMPLOYEES COVERED UNDER THE SHOP & OFFICE EMPLOYEES ACT :

1. In the event of a confinement resulting in the birth of a live child, the female employee shall be entitled to seventy (70) working days of paid leave commencing on the date of confinement to be offered by the employer. (Also vide item 3 below for existing provisions regarding pre-confinement leave)

2. In the event of a confinement not resulting in the birth of a live child, the female employee shall be entitled to twenty eight (28) working days of paid leave commencing on the date of confinement to be offered by the employer.  

3. Where the female employee has worked for any number of days during the period of fourteen (14) working days immediately preceding such confinement -  i.e. ‘pre-confinement leave’ - she shall be entitled to take paid leave for the said number of days after her confinement.  The entitlement of such days shall commence from the date immediately succeeding the date on which the period of leave referred to in (1) and (2) above ends.  

In effect the respective female employee will be entitled to eighty-four (84) working days of leave in total if the confinement results in the birth of a live child.  Previous limitations that were imposed in relation to the third or subsequent child, in which case a woman employee was only entitled to forty two (42) working days as maternity leave, has been removed. With effect from the 18th of June 2018, every birth resulting in the delivery of a live child will entitle a woman to avail eighty-four (84) working days as maternity leave as set out above.

Similarly, a female employee will be entitled to forty-two (42) working days of leave in total if the confinement does not result in birth of a live child, or in the issue of a viable foetus.

4. A female employee, who is nursing a child under one (1) year of age,  shall be entitled for nursing intervals within the normal working day i.e. within a period of nine (9) hours as follows, until the child is one (1) year old.

(a) Where a crèche or other suitable place is provided for by the employer to a  female employee for nursing such child, two (2) nursing intervals each with a minimum period of thirty (30) minutes. 

(b) Where a crèche or other suitable place is not provided for by the employer to a female employee for nursing such child, two (2) nursing intervals each with a minimum period of one (01) hour. 

(c) The abovementioned nursing intervals should be allowed at such times the female employee requires.

(d) The nursing intervals shall be allowed in addition to any interval for meals or rest allowed for such employee and shall be regarded as time worked within her employment.  

5. Whereas a female employee would have to provide the details of her confinement to the employer, the provision of information pertaining to the number of ‘living’ children is not a requirement any more.


C. FEMALE EMPLOYEES COVERED UNDER THE MATERNITY BENEFITS ORDINANCE (Female Employees other than those covered by the Shop & Office Employees Act):

1. In the event of a confinement resulting in the birth of a live child, the female employee shall be entitled to maternity benefits totaling to twelve (12) weeks which can be two (2) weeks upto and including the date of confinement and ten (10) weeks immediately following the date of confinement or a total of twelve (12) weeks immediately succeeding such confinement.

Previous limitations that were imposed in relation to the third or subsequent child, in which case a woman employee was only entitled to six (6) weeks leave (including any intervening holidays), has been removed. With effect from the 18th of June 2018, every birth resulting in the delivery of a live child will entitle a woman to avail twelve (12) weeks as maternity leave as set out above excluding any other holiday or leave for which the female employee is entitled to under any other law or regulation (vide item C 3 below).


2. In the event of a confinement not resulting in the birth of a live child, or in the case of an issue of a viable foetus the female employee shall be entitled to maternity benefits totaling to six (6) weeks which can be two (2) weeks up to and including the date of confinement and four (4) weeks immediately following the date of confinement or a total of six (6) weeks immediately succeeding such confinement.

3. The aforementioned maternity benefits shall be allowed in addition to any other holiday or leave for which the female employee is entitled to under any other law or regulation.

Accordingly, the female employees covered by this Ordinance shall be entitled to maternity leave similar to female employees covered by the Shop & Office Employees Act.  

4. A female employee shall be permitted to be absent from her employment within the period mentioned in (1), (2) and (3) above.

5. A female employee who has been confined is required to give written notice of her confinement detailing as to whether the respective confinement resulted in a live birth or not, to her employer within one (1) week of her confinement for the purposes of ascertaining the number of days she will be permitted to be absent from her work.  

6. Prevailing provisions pertaining to nursing intervals under the Ordinance shall continue.   

7. The changes in terms of the amendments will be effective from 18th June 2018.

D. EFC Members should read the provisions that have been stipulated in the Handbook of Industrial Relations (2018 Edition) in relation to the Maternity Leave and Benefits (vide Item 41; page 185 - 193) together with the amendments that have been set out above.

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2018 14:28
 
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