Job Protection

No Harmful Work

Before assigning work to a pregnant or breastfeeding worker, an employer has to assess the nature and degree of any hazard present at the workplace. If the risk assessment reveals presence of a risk factor, employer is required to take measures to protect the safety and health of an employee with temporary adjustment of the working environment and the working hours.

If a temporary adjustment is not feasible, employer has to reassign the employee to a suitable alternative work. If no suitable alternative work is available, employee (on agreement with the Occupational Health and Safety Authority) may be given special maternity leave by the employer for the whole period to protect her health.

The special maternity leave is up to eight weeks in duration and is taken continuous or with interruptions. During this period, employer pays the employee a special allowance equivalent to the rate of sickness benefit. Night work and overtime work is also prohibited during pregnancy and breastfeeding period.

Sources: §3, 4, 5 & 9-A of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91) as amended by Legal Notice 415 of 2014; Protection of Maternity at Work Places (Amendment) Regulations as amended by Legal Notice 195 of 2015

Protection from Dismissals

It is not lawful for the employer to dismiss a pregnant worker, an employee who has recently given birth or a breastfeeding employee or during any period of special maternity leave. A full time female worker cannot be dismissed by the employer during the period of her maternity leave or the period of five weeks following the end of such leave for her inability to work owing to some pathological condition arising out of confinement. Any condition in the contract of service which empowers an employer to terminate the employment of a female worker on her marriage or becoming pregnant is null and void.

Sources: §36(5, 14 & 17) & 40 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP. 452) last amended by Act IV of 2015; §12 of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91) as amended by Legal Notice 415 of 2014

Right to Return to Same Position

When an employee is on maternity leave or special maternity leave, she is deemed to have been in the employment of the employer and is entitled to all rights and benefits which may accrue to other employees of the same class or category of employment at the same place of work, including the right to apply for promotion opportunities at her place of work, and on return to work, she is entitled to return to the same job or when this is no longer possible for a valid reason, to equivalent or similar work which is consistent with her original contract of employment.

Sources: §36(19)of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP. 452); §11 of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91) as amended by Legal Notice 415 of 2014