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Wednesday , August 12 2020

Unwell post delivery and working hours to feed baby

If a woman is unwell post delivery and hospitalized for the same can she avail sick leave for that period of sickness and then avail maternity leave post sickness? In my understanding of the law it cannot be permitted as provided she gives birth during this period. Kindly advise. Also, I would like to know by law what is the time frame of providing 2 hours to feed the baby for private sector employees. Please advise.

Name withheld

Answer: In most cases women take maternity before the period of delivery sets in. If a women is unwell postdelivery, our understanding is that the woman is already on maternity and hence the hospitalization you talked about would have taken place during the period the woman was already on maternity leave.

The question of applying for maternity leave post-sickness does not therefore arise: if however the woman did not initially apply for the maternity leave before she was hospitalized, then nothing stops her from applying for the maternity leave post-sickness.

On the issue of the two-hour break to breastfeed a baby we must point out that the office timings for the woman will remain unchanged and will be the same as it is with all the other employees.

It is within these working hours that the woman is entitled to two hours to feed her baby. So if, for example, the woman’s company has a 0900 to 1700 hours schedule, the woman is required to follow the same hours but she can take two hours off in between at some point — to be mutually decided with her company — to feed the baby. We must however point out that this facility is not for an unlimited period while the duration has not been specified by the law, it is normally for about three months. It could be more but that has to be decided by the company.

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