Learn what labor laws on pregnancy says about the right to maternity leave in Kenya and what pregnant mothers should do when employer denies them maternity leave.
Labor Laws on pregnancy
Are you pregnant and wondering how you can take a break from work without the risk of being fired? Few mothers know that employers are required by law to offer their employees maternity leave. Moreover, you are guaranteed of job security when you go for maternity leave.
The Employment Act, Section 29, 2007, provides that female employees should be given maternity leave. Here is a breakdown of what the right to maternity leave entails;
The Employment Act in Kenya
The Employment Act provides that a female worker has the right to maternity leave and to receive full pay during this period. Furthermore, there are other benefits that a pregnant worker is entitled to even during the two weeks of her paternity leave.
Days of entitlement to maternity leave
The maternity leave period provided for under the law is 3 months or 91 calendar days. The employee should present a written notice of one week before proceeding to go on maternity leave. The employee is also required to present a certificate showing her medical condition from a midwife or qualified doctor.
The employer can decide to give the employee an extension of their maternity leave or even proceed to give them a sick leave or any form of leave. There is no limit on the number of times an employee can get a maternity leave.
Can an Employer Fire an employee who is on Maternity Leave?
According to Section 5 (3) of the Employment Act, an employer cannot dismiss a worker because she failed to go to work because of maternity leave. The Act expressly states that no employer should discriminate against an employee or harass them because they are pregnant.
Health and Safety of Pregnant Workers
While there is no specific provision in the Employment Act on the health protection of new mothers or pregnant workers, the Occupational Health and Safety Act offers some form of health protection. According to the Act, employers have a general duty to make sure the welfare, health, and safety of all workers is guaranteed and this includes pregnant women.
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