Job Protection

No Harmful Work

No provisions on protecting health and safety of pregnant workers were identified within the law.

Protection from Dismissals

Employment of a worker is secure during pregnancy and maternity leave. An employer who terminates the employment of an employee because the employee is pregnant or for any reason connected with her pregnancy is guilty of an offence. The burden of proof that the employment was not terminated because of pregnancy is on the employer.

Where an employer is convicted of such an offence, he/she is liable to a fine of MK 20,000 and imprisonment for five years.

In addition, the Court may order –

(a)    the employer to reinstate the employee, who is treated in all respects as if her employment had not been terminated; and

(b)   an award of compensation (ranging between one week to one month pay for each completed year of service).

An employer who is ordered to reinstate a worker and refuses to do so is liable to a fine of MK500 for each day of offence.

Source: §49 & 63 of the Employment Act (No. 6 of 2000), last amended in 2010

Right to Return to Same Position

Upon the expiration of her maternity leave, an employee shall have the right to return to the same job with the same benefits and entitlements as immediately before her absence, unless  the job has ceased to exist because of the economic, technological or organizational requirements of the undertaking; or the worker is incapable of continuing to perform the job.

In either of the circumstances mentioned above, the employer must take reasonable steps to find the employee a suitable alternative job within the undertaking, and if no suitable alternative job can be found or if the employee unreasonably refuses the offer of a suitable alternative job, the employer is entitled to terminate her employment with notice.

Source: §48 of the Employment Act (No. 6 of 2000), last amended in 2010

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