Workplace Safety: Maternity LeavePosted on 2012-11-26 09:00:46
Every formally employed pregnant woman in Kenya has to start making plans to take leave from work when the baby comes. It is a good idea to know your due date, and then plan to take leave by then. According to the Employment Act 2007, a pregnant woman in Kenya is entitled to three months maternity leave with full pay and without forfeiting your annual leave. My advice to you is to know your rights. There are companies that are known to suppress these rights, so knowledge is power. Since you are employed and are answerable to someone, you need to do your due diligence and inform your immediate superior in good time so that plans can be made for someone to sit in for you, while you will be away.
Tips to planning your maternity leave
- Inform your immediate supervisor about your pregnancy before you start showing. It is good if it comes from you than from other quarters.
- Know your due dates so that you can start making plans to train a replacement in good time.
- Given the nature of your work, you may have to apply for light duties in your third trimester. If your work involves heavy lifting, or standing for too long, or a job that exposes you to extreme temperatures. Inform your supervisor of the dangers and harm that station poses to your health and that of your baby.
- As a pregnant woman in Kenya, if you are not able to explain your condition properly, get a medical note from the doctor explaining your condition; it will make your life easier.
- Do not assume that everyone knows what you are experiencing so they should treat you in a special way. Again do not go into the gorily details of your morning sickness but explain yourself if it affects your job performance. You do not want to lose your job just yet.
- Assist in identifying someone who you can train to handle your docket while you are away.
- Invest time in training your reliever. Do not be threatened that they may become better than you and may replace you while away on your maternity leave.
- Prepare a checklist of all the projects or duties that are assigned to you and their progress so that you can hand over efficiently, when the time comes.
- Make a formal leave application to your Human Resource department at least three months before your due date.
- There may be some resistance to your application for light duties.
- Not everyone may be happy you are pregnant, so do not rub it in.
- Some employers are not willing to adhere to this law, so be ready to fight. Remember in case your employer does not know about the Employment Act 2007; let your HR department be aware.
- If you know your organization has a culture of sacking women while on maternity leave, then start making plans to get another job when on leave, since the same may happen to you.
- A married pregnant woman in Kenya is also lucky to have her husband by her side in the first two weeks for of their baby’s life. This is because a father is entitled to two weeks paternity leave.
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