26 May

Expecting a new baby is one of the most exciting things in the world. Yet, there are real challenges you have to face and one of these is to plan your work administration and prepare for the time you will be on maternity leave. 

UASA in this blog will be looking at maternity leave and what expecting mothers should know before they go on maternity leave. We are also going to be explaining the new parental leave that came into effect this year. 

Maternity leave

In accordance with the South African labour law, moms are entitled to four months of unpaid maternity leave. This means that you are entitled to take the full four months leave if required. 

Only you can decide if you want to shorten your maternity leave to less than four months, as long as it is not less than six weeks from the delivery date.

You can take the leave anytime from four weeks prior to the due date and you MAY NOT return to work within six weeks of the delivery date. This is true for any type of work you do (work-from-home included) unless you work less than 24 hours a month then technically you are not considered an employee and therefore not covered under the Labour Relations Act (LRA). 

Note: The employer is obliged to hold the employee’s job open for her until she returns from maternity leave. 

Parental adoption leave

As from the 1st of January 2020, the three days family responsibility leave that employees were entitled to upon the birth of a child, was replaced with parental leave as per the Labour Laws Amendment Act of 2018.

The remainder of section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Family Responsibility Leave) remains intact, entitling employees to three days family responsibility leave when a child is sick (younger than 18 years of age) or alternatively upon the death of a family member as listed in the Act.

An employee is entitled to 10 days of parental leave upon the birth of the employee’s child. Parental leave may also be applicable in circumstances where an employee legally adopts a child or when a child is placed by a court in the care of a prospective adoptive parent. 

A “prospective adoptive” parent means a person that complies with the requirements set out in the Children’s Act of 2005. 

It is evident that both male and female employees may qualify for parental leave depending on the circumstances. However, if the employee gave birth to the child, she will not qualify for parental leave. Such an employee is entitled to 4 months of unpaid maternity leave.


If you have been contributing to UIF, you are eligible for a maternity benefit of up to a maximum amount of 60% of your remuneration (lowest amount of replacement income is 38%) depending on the level of your income. 

Benefits are paid for a maximum duration of 17.32 weeks (121 days). 

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