In the last article, The Employee’s Rights Part III, we started to look at leave entitlements under the Employment Act. In this Part, we will address Maternity Leave.
Entitlement to Maternity Leave
Maternity leave is for female employees who have a baby by reason of a pregnancy. It is in addition to any other leave, including annual leave (vacation leave) and sick leave.
Conditions for Grant of Maternity Leave
- The employee must have been continuously employed with that employer for a continuous period of 18 months or more before the date of her expected confinement. For a daily paid worker, continuous means 105 days worked in the 18-month period; and
- The employee must have informed the employer at least 3 weeks before maternity leave is to start that:
- She will be requiring maternity leave because of pregnancy; and
- She intends to return to work for the employer.
Period of Maternity Leave
Maternity leave is 3 months, provided that the mother gives birth to a living baby or one who lives for more than a month.
If the baby dies at birth, or within 1 month of birth, the maternity leave ends 30 days after the baby’s death.
An employee can choose to return to work before the expiration of the 3-month period, but upon at least 2 weeks’ notice to the employer, and the production of a medical certificate of fitness, if the employer asks for one.
Entitlement to Pay during Maternity Leave
An employee who is entitled to her pay during maternity leave must be paid the difference between her NIS benefit and salary/wage as follows:
- For a monthly paid employee, salary for 2 months of the maternity leave;
- For a weekly or fortnightly paid employee, wages for a period of 4 fortnights; and
- For a daily paid employee, a fifth of her wages earned in the 12 months immediately prior to the commencement of her leave.
An employee is only entitled to 3 occasions of paid maternity leave, provided that those occasions are at least 2-year intervals.
Maternity pay must be paid to the employee as a lump sum no later than the first day of maternity leave or, if the employee so chooses, in the same manner in which she is ordinarily paid, that is, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.