Revealed: What you should and shouldn’t do when managing pregnant employees

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 12 Nov. 2014

Tags: maternity leave, managing pregnant employees, pregnant employees

You need to tread carefully when managing pregnant employees.

If you don’t, you could find yourself at the labour court for going against labour laws.

This because pregnant employees are strongly protected under existing South African labour law. In fact, there are no fewer than six pieces of legislation that require you (the employer) to treat pregnant and post-pregnant employees with the greatest of care.

To avoid any sort of legal trouble, we recommend you take note of what you should and shouldn’t do when managing pregnant employees.

Here are the dos and don’ts of managing pregnant employees

1. Don’t assume your employee is pregnant.
According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, there are potential discrimination issues that can arise if you don’t handle the issue privately and discreetly.
2. Don’t discriminate against or dismiss any employee because she’s pregnant.
Now let’s look at the dos…

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These are the dos of managing pregnant employees

3. Remember that the law also protects potential employees. You must give their job applications the same fair and equal consideration as all other applicants.

4. Let your employee be the one to let management know she’s pregnant. You can then set the administrative wheels in motion.
5. Make sure she’s clear on your company’s maternity policy and any pregnancy-related benefits you offer or which maternity leave will affect. She should also understand any return-to-work policies.
6. Follow doctor recommendations to the letter. If pregnancy affects your employee’s ability to physically perform her job, it’s up to her to provide written instructions from her doctor. Legally, you must follow the doctor’s directions on how long your employee can work, her physical limitations and necessary time off during the pregnancy.
You must also remove your employee from work activities or work environments which may pose a danger to her or her baby at this time.
Knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when managing pregnant employees will help ensure you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of labour law.
PS: For more information on managing pregnant employees and maternity leave, check out Your Maternity Leave Solution.

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