We have casual labourers who have been working for us for about sixteen months to work on our farm. All these employees are new in the sense that they have not worked for us before. One of the casuals who became pregnant after recruitment has applied for paid maternity leave for 84 days. Is a casual labourer entitled to a paid maternity leave.
Section 14(1) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act divides the employees into three categories namely, employees with a specified term contract, employees with unspecified term contract and the employees recruited for a specific task. There is no fourth category of casual labourers. Section 61(d) of the Labour Institutions Act provides that a person who works for another for an average of 45 hours per month for over a period of 3 months is taken to be an employee of the person for whom he works regardless of the nature of his employment contract unless it is proved otherwise.
Section 29(2)(b) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act also makes it clear that an employee working on a seasonal basis is also entitled to paid leaves which includes maternity leave. However, under section 30(1)(b) (ii) of the Act, paid maternity leave becomes due to the employee after she has worked for the employer for a period of 36 months after the employment. So your casual labourer is not entitled to a paid maternity leave not because of the nature of her employment that she is a casual labourer but only because she has not worked for your organisation for 36 months from the date of her recruitment and hence does not qualify for the maternity leave on that ground only.