Maternity Leave Matters

During your maternity leave, you get the precious time to recover from birth and to bond with your new baby.

Since maternity leave is such a significant time, it’s important to understand how much leave you’re legally allowed to take, what your employer’s maternity leave policy is, and whether you will be paid or not. 

Maternity leave in South Africa

Currently, in South Africa:

  • You are entitled to four months consecutive maternity leave; you may not go back to work within six weeks after birth, unless your doctor or midwife says that it’s safe to do so
  • If you have a miscarriage or stillbirth during the third trimester of pregnancy, you are entitled to maternity leave for six weeks thereafter
  • Your employer is not legally obliged to pay you for this time off – find out what their internal policy is so you can plan
  • If you have been contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), you should be able to claim a percentage of your salary from the UIF maternity benefit

The labour laws above do not apply to you if you work less than 24 hours a month; you only earn commission; or you are a learner, public servant or foreigner working on a contract.

Plenty of UIF paperwork

Before you can claim your maternity benefit from UIF, you will need to prepare particular paperwork. This can take some time! Try to get your documents in order while you are still pregnant so you can submit these as soon as you go on maternity leave.