No Harmful Work
During the period of pregnancy and during some weeks (10-14 weeks) after confinement, the female worker who is usually occupied in work that is considered as harmful to her health by the authority should be moved, without reduction of their earnings to another kind of work that is not harmful to their state. Prohibited work includes:
a) Arduous work (manual lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling of loads);
b) Work involving exposure to biological, chemical or physical agents;
c) Work involving physical strain (prolonged periods of sitting, standing, exposure to extreme temperatures, vibration and
d) Night work (if specified by medical practitioner)
In all of the above cases, employers are required to adapt the working conditions (like reduction in the working hours) for the pregnant or breastfeeding employee or transfer her to another work (from night work to day work) or another post which does not present a risk to the health and safety of worker or her pregnancy or breastfeeding.
In case, such adaptation in working conditions or transfer to another post or work is not technically or objectively feasible on duly substantiated grounds, employee is granted leave from her employment. Fir the first 21 days of leave, remuneration is paid by the employer. Afterwards, a health and safety benefit is paid to the woman worker until she becomes entitled to maternity benefit. The Health and Safety leave is also available for workers during 14 weeks immediately following the child birth or 26 weeks in case of breastfeeding employee.
Employers are required to ensure that pregnant, post-natal and breastfeeding employees are able to lie down to rest in appropriate conditions.
Source: Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and Amendment Act 2004; Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations 4 - 5 and Factories Act 1955 (Manual Work) (Maximum Weights and Transport) Regulations 5(2); Regulation 24 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007
Protection from Dismissals
Termination or suspension of employment is void if the employee is terminated/suspended while on maternity leave, leave taken by the father if the mother dies, leave on safety and health grounds, for prenatal or postnatal care, during a period of absence from work to attend ante-natal classes, or absence from work for breastfeeding, even if suspension/termination expires after expiration of those leaves. The dismissal would be considered unfair if it is due to availing of right under legislation to maternity leave, adoptive leave, carer’s leave, parental leave or force majeure leave.
Source: §23-24 of the Maternity Protection Act; §6 of the Unfair Dismissals Act
Right to Return to Same Position
A female employee, or the father of a child whose mother has died, has the right to return to the same job under the contract of employment she or he was employed under before going on maternity leave, or leave on safety and health grounds. However, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer, or his or her successor, to permit the woman (or the father) to return to the same job, suitable alternative employment, under a new contract of employment, must be offered.
Source: §22, 25-28 and 40 of the Maternity Protection Act