Two laws you must follow to protect your pregnant and breastfeeding employees

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 27 Nov. 2014

Tags: protecting pregnant and breastfeeding employees, maternity leave, pregnant and breastfeeding employees, how to protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees, occupational health and safety act, ohsa, basic conditions of employment act, bcea, code of good practice on the protection of employees during pregnancy and after the birth of a child

Your legal obligations to your pregnant employees don’t end with granting maternity leave.

You also have a duty to protect your pregnant and breastfeeding employees.

To do this effectively, you must obey two important laws.

Read on to find out about the two laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees so you can comply and ensure your employee doesn’t take you to the CCMA or Labour Court for putting her and her child at risk.

Make sure you comply with these two laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service outlines two laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees:
#1: The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). This Act says you must provide and maintain a safe and risk-free work environment for all your employees. This includes risks to the reproductive health of your employees.
#2: The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). Pregnancy isn’t an illness or injury. But the BCEA makes it clear that you can’t allow pregnant or breastfeeding employees to do work that could harm their health or the health of their children.
In addition to complying with these two pieces of legislation, you must also comply with the Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees During Pregnancy and After the Birth of a Child.
This Code protects employees against possible hazards in the workplace during pregnancy, after birth and while breastfeeding.
While it isn’t law, it’s a guide to help you apply Section 26 of the BCEA. This section keeps you from allowing pregnant or breastfeeding employees to do work that could harm them or the health of their unborn babies.

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Here’s how to apply the Code of Good Practice to protect your breastfeeding employees

To protect the health of your pregnant and breastfeeding employees, assess and control the risks to the health of the mother and her unborn child.
The Code suggests you:


  • Identify, record and review possible risks to pregnant and breastfeeding employees in your company.


  • Identify, record and regularly review the protective measures and adjustments you make to accommodate pregnant and breastfeeding employees.


  • Keep a list of positions in your company that don’t involve risks. You could then transfer pregnant and breastfeeding employees into these.


  • Tell other employees about workplace hazards to pregnant and breastfeeding employees. This way, they can keep an eye out and make sure they warn or help them avoid these.


  • Encourage employees to tell you as soon as possible if they’re pregnant. This way you can identify, assess risks and take appropriate steps.


  • Keep a record of everyone who’s pregnant in your workplace.


  • Allow breastfeeding mothers two 30-minute breaks per day to breast feed or express milk until the child is six months old.

Note: This list isn’t exhaustive. Check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service to find out the other things the Code suggests you do.
Now that you know about the laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees, comply with them.




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