What is the legal provision for administration of maternity leave entitlement?
Sections 29 of Employment Act, 2007, Laws of Kenya, provides for employee’s maternity leave entitlements respectively. A female employee is entitled to three months maternity leave with full pay, in addition to any period of annual leave she is entitled to, and sick leave if she happens to fall sick during her time of confinement and with the consent of the employer.
Is there any limit on the number of times that an employee can take maternity leave?
No. The law does not set a limit on maternity leave.
Can an employer terminate an employee because she is pregnant and on maternity leave, or fire them soon after resuming work from maternity leave for the same reason?
No. An employer shall not dismiss a woman worker because of her absence from work due to maternity leave. Section 5 (3) (a) specifies that no employer shall discriminate directly or indirectly, against an employee or prospective employee or harass an employee or prospective employee on grounds of pregnancy.
Health and Safety: What about breastfeeding according to the law?
No relevant statutory provisions are identified in terms of protection of breastfeeding female employees, though some collective agreements offer some allowance for breaks for breastfeeding (without representing a general trend).
What happens at the end of the maternity leave period?
On expiry of the maternity leave, the female employee shall have the right to return to the job which she held immediately prior to her maternity leave or to a reasonably suitable job on terms and conditions not less favourable than those which she would have applied had she not been on maternity leave.
Where maternity leave has been extended with the consent of the employer or immediately on expiry of maternity leave before resuming her duties, a female employee proceeds on sick leave or with the consent of the employer on annual leave, compassionate leave, or any other leave, the three month’s leave under this section shall be deemed to expire on the last day of such extended leave.
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