oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Achieving effective maternity rights in a post-apartheid South Africa: is the new constitution adequate?

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The purpose of this article is to draw attention to urgent needs that exist in the field of maternity protection for women in industry and to evaluate the extent to which the Transitional Constitution addresses these. Since a purely theoretical discussion would be of rather limited value, this paper utilises research which the author undertook in order to ascertain the nature of maternity benefits being provided by employers in the textile industry in selected areas of Natal during 1989-1990. The essential components of maternity protection for working women are job protection, the right to maternity leave for a specified period, a cash benefit to replace wages lost during the leave period, and adequate health and medical insurance during pregnancy, at the time of childbirth, and for postnatal care. South African legislation as it stands contains each of these components, but they are skewed in such a way as to undermine their effectiveness and thus that of the whole maternity policy policy package. In this article each of these components will be discussed in turn.

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