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[HR Guide] Maternity Leave

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Many employees in SMEs take a day or two off occasionally, and work can be handled by other colleagues temporarily, which will not have a great impact on the company. But if an employee applies for 10-week maternity leave, her work needs to be handed over by the colleagues, which is a huge labor cost for the enterprise. Especially some female employees, who have just come to the company for months, have announced a pregnancy, and labor law stipulates that pregnant employees cannot be dismissed, which makes many employers have to approve the leave. Today we are going to talk about maternity leave.

Can employers not grant maternity leave to a pregnant employee?

A female employee employed under a continuous contract immediately before the commencement of her maternity leave is entitled to a continuous period of 10 weeks’ maternity leave. 

An employer who fails to grant maternity leave to a pregnant employee is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of $50,000. 

How many days can a pregnant employee take? When is the commence date?

Maternity leave should be paid for a period of 10 weeks. 

With the agreement of her employer, a pregnant employee may decide to commence her maternity leave from two to four weeks before the expected date of confinement;  If the employee does not decide on the date, or fails to secure her employer’s agreement, the employee shall commence her maternity leave four weeks before the expected date of confinement; 

Maternity leave commences on the date of confinement if it occurs before the scheduled maternity leave. If confinement occurs later than the expected date of confinement, a further period equal to the number of days from the day after the expected date of confinement to the actual date of confinement; 

How do employers make the payment for maternity leave?

An employee is eligible for maternity leave pay if: 

  1. she has been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of scheduled maternity leave; 
  2. she has given notice of pregnancy and her intention to take maternity leave to her employer after the pregnancy has been confirmed. For example, the presentation of a medical certificate confirming her pregnancy to the employer; and 
  3. she has produced a medical certificate specifying the expected date of confinement if so required by her employer. 

The daily rate of maternity leave pay is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wages earned by an employee in the 12-month period preceding the first day of maternity leave. 

Note: According to the requirements of the continuous contract, if the employee is employed for less than 40 weeks before the commencement of maternity leave, the employer does not need to pay maternity leave pay even if the employee produces a medical certificate confirming her pregnancy.

How to pay an employee when she attends a medical examination and is absent from work?

When the employee’s absence from work to attend medical examination in relation to her pregnancy, post confinement medical treatment or miscarriage is supported by an appropriate medical certificate, any such day on which she is absent shall be counted as a sickness day. And the daily rate of sick leave pay is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wages earned by an employee in the 12-month period.

The calculation of maternity leave pay varies according to the employee’s joined date and salary. If the calculation is wrong, it will not only affect the employees’ satisfaction but also the employer may get into a lawsuit. The payroll function of Workstem can accurately calculate the maternity leave pay according to the employee’s information, and automatically generate maternity leave balance and leave history.



(The article on this website is intended to be for reference and general information purposes only. Workstem does not warrant or represent that such information is complete, accurate or up to date. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of law or court practice, or a substitute for professional legal advice.)


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