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Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997)

Sectoral Determinations

Sectoral Determination No 5: Learnerships

24. Maternity leave3


(a) A learner is entitled to at least four consecutive months' maternity leave.
(b) A learner is not entitled to receive her allowance during any period of maternity leave she takes.


(2) A learner may commence maternity leave:
(a) at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth, unless otherwise agreed; or
(b) on a date from which a medical practitioner or a midwife certifies that it is necessary for the learner's health or that of her unborn child.


(3) No learner may work for six weeks after the birth of her child, unless a medical practitioner or midwife certifies that she is fit to do so.


(4) A learner who has a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or bears a stillborn child is entitled to maternity leave for six weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth, whether or not the learner had commenced maternity leave at the time of the miscarriage or stillbirth.


(5) A learner must notify an employer in writing, unless the learner is unable to do so, of the date on which the learner intends to:
(a) commence maternity leave; and
(b) return to work after maternity leave.


(6) Notification in terms of subclause (5) must be given:
(a) at least four weeks before the learner intends to commence maternity leave; or
(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to do so, as soon as is reasonably practicable.



3 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.