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Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995)


National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry

Main Collective Agreement

Part C : Provisions for the KwaZulu-Natal Region

16. Maternity Leave



(1) Every employer shall acknowledge the right of an eligible employee to reasonable security of employment prior to, during and following confinement and notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this part of the Agreement, the following special provisions shall apply to such employee.


(2) For the purposes of this clause unless a different meaning appears from the context—
(a) "Continuous Service" shall mean the period of employment during which an employee's name has remained continuously on the employers employment register.
(b) "Eligible Employee" means a permanent employee, who is or was pregnant and who has been in the continuous service of the same employer for a minimum period of twelve (12) months at the commencement of that employee's maternity leave, subject to the provisions of subclause (4) (b) below.
(c) "Maternity Leave" shall mean the period of leave to which an eligible employee is entitled by virtue of the provisions of this clause.
(d) "Permanent Employee" means an employee, other than a temporary employee, who is in continuous employment with an employer and whose conditions of employment are regulated by the provisions of the Main Collective Agreement.
(e) "Provident Fund" shall mean The Clothing Industry (Natal) Provident Fund.
(f) "Sick Benefit Fund" shall mean the Sick Benefit Fund as provided for in clause 35 of this part of the Agreement.
(g) "Temporary Employee" means an employee other than a permanent employee whose employment contract is for a fixed predetermined period of time.


(3) An employee shall not be permitted to work during the period commencing four (4) weeks prior to the expected date of confinement and ending eight (8) weeks after the date of confinement.



(a) Subject to compliance with the provisions of this clause, an eligible employee proceeding on maternity leave shall be entitled to a maternity benefit payment equal to 3¼ weeks of such employee's wage rate; or where the employee's wage has been varied in accordance with clause 4 (8) (a), such wage rate as was applicable immediately prior to such variation (notwithstanding that the employee's Sick Benefit Fund contributions may have been calculated after such variation had been implemented). Such maternity benefit payment shall be paid by the Sick Benefit Fund: Provided that such payment is not made earlier than four (4) weeks prior to the expected date of confinement, as certified by a current medical certificate issued by the Sick Benefit Fund.
(b) Maternity leave shall be for a maximum period of six (6) months in respect of the period before, during and after confinement.
(c) For the purpose of calculating length of service, maternity leave shall not be deemed to constitute a break in service other than as specified in this clause.
(d) Benefits which accrue to eligible employees arising from service e.g. annual leave and sick leave shall not accumulate during the period of maternity leave.



(a) If an eligible employee elects to continue contributing to the Provident Fund and /or Sick Benefit Fund during maternity leave, the employer must continue his reciprocal contributions.
(b) Any benefits in terms of the Provident Fund and/or Sick Benefit Fund shall, subject to the rules of these funds, continue to accrue to a member.



(a) An employer shall upon the expiry of maternity leave continue to employ an eligible employee in the same job grade and at the same rate of pay that was applicable immediately prior to the commencement of maternity leave, or at the new appropriate wage for the applicable job grade whichever is the greater, provided that—
(i) at the time of granting maternity leave, the employee indicates the intention to return to work by completing and returning to the employer a form published for the purpose by the Council;
(ii) such employee returns to work within a period of six (6) months calculated from the date of commencement of maternity leave;
(iii) where suitable vacancy does not exist for a similar position within the same grade, such employee shall be employed on a temporary basis at a lower job grade, but without affecting pay, until a suitable vacancy arises;
(iv) employment shall not be guaranteed where such employee has been selected for retrenchment on the basis of the criteria agreed between an employer and the union.
(b) An eligible employee who intends to return to work shall—
(i) provide to an employer a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner indicating that such employee is fit for work;
(ii) advise the employer in writing on a form published for the purpose by the Council, of the intention to return to work at least one (1) month before returning to work confirming the date on which such employee will resume employment.
(c) A temporary employee engaged to fill the position of an eligible employee on maternity leave shall cease to be employed when the eligible employee returns to work, unless a suitable vacancy exists in which event the temporary employee may be employed to fill that vacancy on a permanent basis.
(d) An employee temporarily promoted and paid at the higher rate to fill a vacancy while an eligible employee is absent on maternity leave shall be demoted with consequent reduction in pay, when such employee returns to work, unless a suitable alternative vacancy exists.
(e) The union agrees that it shall not challenge the termination of service of a temporary employee or the demotion of a temporarily promoted employee in terms of the above paragraphs (c) and (d), provided that the temporary or temporarily promoted has signed a temporary contract of employment or promotion, in keeping with the pro-forma contract drafted by the Council.