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The Employment and Industrial Relations Act and subsidiary Legislation, such as Protection of Maternity, Urgent Family Leave, LN and Parental leave ar
The Employment and Industrial Relations Act and subsidiary Legislation, such as Protection of Maternity, Urgent Family Leave, LN and Parental leave are considered as Family Friendly measures. Comment from both an employee’s and employer’s perspectives.
Protection of Maternity
The aim of this regulation is to safeguard the rights of pregnant employees. It also caters for employees who have given birth and to women who breastfeed during work. When an employee is pregnant, she should not lose her job. She shall not have a decrease in wages even when measures are taken to protect her health and safety.
The maternity law stipulates that pregnant women shall not be fired for being pregnant. There should be no change in wages. If the working environment damages her health and safety then she has to be re-allocated to a better place. If the job of the pregnant women is physically laborious then she should be given an alternative job for the period of pregnancy.
The employee will be given maternity leave if the employer is unable to give alternative work or change in the number of work hours. When the maternity period finishes, she should be given the job she had before pregnancy.
The employee is entitled to fourteen weeks maternity leave. These fourteen weeks are divided into two parts. The first six weeks is compulsory while the rest is optional. Full wages are giving in thirteen weeks of maternity leave while the last week is unpaid.
She has the right to leave work if she has to go to a Ante-natal examination if the examinations are during working hours. If the employee is on a fixed-contract which ends and is not renewed, the employer can not force her to repay the amount she received during maternity leave. If there is a promotion or pay rise during the period she is on maternity leave, she has the same right as people who are working there.
An employee cannot be dismissed for being pregnant. A valid reason has to be given for dismissal otherwise it is considered to be unfair dismissal.
If an employee refuses to work the alternative job given by the employer without justification the employer has the right to not provide remuneration of any kind to the employee. The employee must notify the employer in writing when she ceases breastfeeding. The advantage to the employer is that with a written declaration, abuse by the employee is curtailed.
With modifications the employer can call the employee back to work once he arranges the work place to meet the standards expected by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority. The employer must be notified immediately when employee is pregnant. The employer has a right to request proof that the Ante-natal examinations took place. The employer also has a right to dismiss employee if there are valid reasons to do so.
Urgent Family Leave
The aim of urgent family leave is to facilitate the reconciliation of parental and professional responsibilities for working parents.
In case of force majeure, employees are entitled to time off from work. The employee does not have to give advance notification in the case of immediate family cases. The employee is entitled to a minimum of fifteen hours pay per year to cater for urgent family reasons.
The employer is obliged to give urgent family leave to family relations of first degree. When applicable the employer should be notified twenty four hours in advance that employee will miss work due to family reasons. In case of force majeur, the employer can state the maximum number of hours the employee is permitted to leave from work. The employer has the right to demand evidence.
This law lays down the minimum requirements to allow balancing of work and parental responsibilities.
Workers have the right to be granted unpaid leave so that they will be able to take care of the child for a period of three months until the child has reached the age of eight years. After parental leave the parent should return to the job he held before parental leave. If it is not possible to return to work held previously, the employee should be assigned a job that meets requirements of original contract. The employee during parental leave shall be entitled to all rights and benefits which may accrue to other employees of the same class or category. If promotion arises, the employee has a right to apply for promotion. The employer cannot recall the employee back to work during parental leave. It is illegal to dismiss an employee during parental leave without reason.
The employer can negotiate with employee whether to grant parental leave on a full-time or part-time basis, in a piecemeal way or in the form of a time credit system. The employer has the right to demand evidence that couple have legal custody of child and demand the employee to provide the family welfare certificate. The employee should notify the employer three weeks in advance specifying the beginning and end of parental leave. Granting of parental leave can be postponed if there is a justifiable reason provided that employer notifies the employee in writing.
The employer should keep record of parental leave granted to every employee. If there is a disagreement between employee and employer, the employer can take the case to the director of employment and industrial relations. The director will mediate between the two parties.
It can be concluded that the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA) along with subsidiary legislation shifts towards the employee. The employee has a right to a healthy workplace. If during pregnancy the employee cannot proceed with her job, then either an alternative job has to be given or else if this is not possible, the employee should be sent home. The employee also has other rights as mentioned. The employer also has some rights. The employee has to provide medical certificates to the employer. This prevents abuse from employees.