MATERNITY LEAVE ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   1   Short title

   2   Interpretation

   3   Employer's duty to grant maternity leave

   4   Worker's right to return to work

   5   Qualified worker's night to maternity pay

   6   Employer to keep record

   7   Offences

   8   Regulations

   9   Saving

      SCHEDULE

 

THE MATERNITY LEAVE ACT

[Date of Commencement: 31st December, 1979]

Act 44 of 1979.

1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Maternity Leave Act.

2   Interpretation

   In this Act-

   "confinement" means the birth of a living child or the birth of a child whether living or dead after twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy;

   "expected week of confinement" in relation to any worker means the week in which it is expected that her confinement will take place;

   "original contract of employment" in relation to any worker who is absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy or confinement, means the contract under which she worked immediately before the beginning of her absence;

   "registered medical practitioner" means a medical practitioner registered under the Medical Act;

   "seasonal employment" means employment provided by an employer during a specific part (commencing at approximately the same time in each year) of each of two or more consecutive years;

   "successor" in relation to the employer of a worker means a person who, in consequence of a change occurring (whether by virtue of sale or other disposition or by operation of law) in the ownership of the, undertaking or of that part of the undertaking for the purposes of which the worker was employed, has-become the owner of that undertaking or of that part of it, as the case may be;

   "week" means the period commencing immediately after twelve o'clock midnight on each Saturday and ending at twelve o'clock midnight on the Saturday next following;

   ’'worker" means an individual of the female sex who has entered into, or works under, a contract with an employer, whether the contract is express or implied, and (if it is express) whether it is oral or in writing and whether it is a contract of service or of apprenticeship, and includes any such individual employed in the service of the Government (including service in the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force), and "employer" shall be construed accordingly.

3   Employer's duty to grant maternity leave

   (1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), the employer of a worker shall grant her leave, to be known as maternity leave, if that worker-

   (a)   informs the employer that she is, or wishes to be, absent from work wholly or partly because of her pregnancy or confinement and that she intends to return to work with the employer;

   (b)   has been continuously employed by the employer for a period of not less than fifty-two weeks at the date on which her absence begins, or, being in seasonal employment, has been engaged by that employer in that employment for periods which amount to not less than fifty-two weeks during the five years immediately preceding that date; and

   (c)   produces for the inspection of the employer, if the employer so requests, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner stating that it is necessary for the worker to be absent from work wholly or partly because of her pregnancy or confinement.

   (2) The period (or, if more than one, the aggregate of the periods) for which a worker is entitled under subsection (1) to be granted maternity leave shall be the period or periods during which she is absent from work wholly or partly because of her pregnancy or confinement, but shall not, except in the cases mentioned in subsections (3) and (4), exceed twelve weeks in respect of each pregnancy or confinement.

   (3) If a worker who has been granted maternity leave for twelve weeks in respect of a pregnancy or confinement furnishes her employer with a certificate from a registered medical practitioner certifying that as a result of her illness arising from that pregnancy or confinement, or as a result of the state of health of the child to whom she has given birth, it is necessary for the worker to be absent from work for an additional period, not exceeding Fourteen weeks, which shall be specified in the certificate and shall begin immediately after the end of those twelve weeks, her employer shall grant her extension of her maternity leave for the period so specified.

   (4) If a worker who has been granted maternity leave for twelve weeks in respect of a pregnancy or confinement wishes to be granted extension of her maternity leave for a period exceeding Fourteen weeks for any of the reasons mentioned in subsection (3)-

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   (a)   she shall submit herself or the child, as the case may require, to a medical examination by a registered medical practitioner chosen and paid by her, if her employer requires her so to do;

   (b)   her employer may require that the medical examination mentioned in paragraph (a) shall be carried out in the presence of, and in consultation with, a registered medical practitioner chosen and paid by the employer; and

   (c)   if there is disagreement between the registered medical practitioners mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b), the matter shall be referred to the Chief Medical Officer, and any decision made by him or a registered medical practitioner nominated by him shall be final, and if it is necessary for the worker to be absent for an additional period exceeding Fourteen weeks, her employer shall, subject to the result of the medical examination, if any, grant her extension of her maternity leave for that additional period.

   (5) Any period (not exceeding three weeks) required for determination of any medical question pursuant to subsection (4) shall be regarded as leave granted to the employee pursuant to this section.

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