More than 70% of working women do not receive full maternity leave benefits.
Only 330 million women – or 28% of working women – are fully protected. Approximately 80% of people lacking proper maternity protection live in Africa and Asia.
According to Section 29 of the Employment Act of 2007, a female employee is entitled to maternity leave on full pay if she provides seven days written notice in advance, or a shorter-term as may be appropriate in the circumstances, of her decision to take maternity leave.
A female employee seeking to use her right to maternity leave must if necessary by the employer, provide a certificate from a trained medical professional or midwife as to her medical condition.
Below are key points to note:
- In addition to her regular annual leave, the female employee is entitled to three months of leave. Although the legislation does not specify a maternity leave limit, the bare minimum is three months unless the employer and employee agree differently.
- A female employee on maternity leave is entitled to her full compensation as well as all other benefits to which she is otherwise entitled.
- An employer shall not fire a female employee for being absent from work due to maternity leave. Section 5 (3) (a) states that no employer shall discriminate or harass an employee or potential employee based on pregnancy, either directly or indirectly.
Around the globe, the countries that provide the most paid maternity leave by law include the Czech Republic – 28 weeks; Hungary – 24 weeks; Italy – 5 months; Canada – 17 weeks; Spain and Romania – 16 weeks each. In various countries, leave entitlement may be determined by the number of children already in the family, the frequency of births, or both, the length of employment, or the number of working hours. Women in the Bahamas and Tanzania are only permitted to take maternity leave once every three years.