We have a female employee who has worked for our Company for fifteen years. She has taken five terms of paid maternity leave during her consecutive period of employment with our Company and now she has submitted an application for sixth term of paid maternity leave. Is she still entitled to a paid maternity leave for this sixth term? Is the right to a paid maternity leave available to a female employee until she ceases to conceive?
Your question has a straight forward answer. In view of section 33(8) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act, an employer is only obliged to grant an employee paid maternity leave for up to 4 terms. After the fourth term of birth during continuous service of employment with the same employer, the employer has the discretion to grant the employee paid or unpaid maternity leave. Hence an employee cannot demand a sixth term paid maternity leave as a right.