In accordance with the strict labour laws of South African, pregnant women are entitled to at least four months unpaid maternity leave. This legislation is based on Section 25 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. These laws are designed help regulate maternity leave and protect women against unfair discrimination related to their pregnancy. Employers are however not obliged to remunerate employees for this maternity leave and the employee needs to claim maternity benefits through the Department of Labour. It is therefore important to plan ahead and familiarize yourself with the Maternity UIF process. We have included some key points below:
Who can claim Maternity UIF?
The following people can claim Maternity UIF:
- Salary earners and employees who have been paying UIF
- Members of a CC or directors of a company making monthly drawings or taking a salary from the company
- Salary earners who have a stillborn or miscarriage in their third trimester can claim UIF for six weeks
- Salary earners who resign while pregnant or while on maternity leave can claim UIF for up to 4 months
- Non-SA residents with a valid work permit who have been paying UIF
- If you are adopting a child
The following people cannot claim Maternity UIF:
- Those who only earn commission, with no basic
- Sole proprietors
- Foreign workers on contract
- Salary earners / employees whose employers have not been deducting UIF
- You cannot claim UIF if you are receiving a full salary while on maternity leave
- You might not be able to claim if you have claimed sickness or unemployment benefits in the last 4 years
- If you work less than 24 hours in a month
- If you get a monthly state pension or a grant from the Compensation Fund
- You may not be able to claim if you work for a government department
If you are retrenched or your contract ends while you are pregnant, you need to claim for maternity UIF first, and then unemployment UIF. If you claim unemployment UIF first, you will probably not be able to claim maternity UIF.
How much Maternity UIF can I claim?
You can expect to receive somewhere between 38% – 58% of your monthly salary (up to a salary limit of R14,782). The less you earn, the bigger the percentage. If you are paid hourly and your salary fluctuates, then you can claim on the average of the last 6 months.
You can claim for a maximum of 121 days (four months). This will be calculated based on your last four years of employment. For every six months you have worked you will get 1 month of UIF, up to a maximum of 4 months.
The law entitles you to four consecutive months of leave after giving birth, and prohibits you from working within 6 weeks after giving birth. If you choose to take more than four months of maternity leave, then you will not be able to claim UIF for the additional months.
You cannot claim UIF if you are receiving a full salary. However, if you are being paid a portion of your salary, you may claim the unpaid portion from UIF. (Eg. if you are being paid 75%, then you can claim the other 25% from UIF. You cannot get more than 100% of your salary.)
If your company gives you 2 months of maternity leave on full pay, then you are not able to claim UIF for an additional four months. You will be able to claim for an additional two months however.
You can only claim UIF for the time you are actually on maternity leave. If you only take two months of maternity leave, you cannot claim UIF for an additional two months.
If you have a stillborn or miscarriage in your third trimester you can claim UIF for six weeks.
If you resign while pregnant or while on maternity leave you can claim UIF for up to 4 months. This is the only time you can claim UIF when you resign.
How will I be paid Maternity UIF?
You will be paid directly into your bank account. Please note that the bank account must be in your name. You cannot be paid into a joint account or into someone else’s account.
Will I be taxed on Maternity UIF?
No. There is no tax due on UIF payments.
How long does UIF maternity take to pay out?
It can take between 5 to 8 weeks from the date your application was submitted for you to receive your first payment.