Without maternity leave, most female employees would dread pregnancy. Luckily, in Ghana, it is a statutory right for every expectant employee to be given a maternity leave by the employer. However, before you are relieved off your duties to go for maternity leave, that there are certain protocols you are expected to observe. This article shares all the necessary information about maternity leave in Ghana.
Apart from the normal annual leave, every pregnant employee is entitled to maternity leave. However, maternity leave laws require an expectant employee to produce a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner or a midwife indicating her expected date of delivery, to be granted a maternity leave.
Are you asking this question - how long is maternity leave in Ghana? Well, to answer your question, an expectant employee is entitled to at least 12 weeks of maternity leave. The law does not set any limit on maternity leave so an employee is entitled to maternity leave every time she is expectant.
There is a provision for maternity leave extension for at least two weeks in case of a caesarean section or where two to three babies are born out of the same pregnancy. An employee on maternity leave is entitled to a full pay including other benefits which she is otherwise entitled to.
An extended leave can be granted in case of an illness related to the pregnancy or confinement. However, a certified medical practitioner should attest to this. The law does not mention the maximum limit of the days extended and this may depend on the condition in question.
Does maternity leave include weekends in Ghana?
Many employees, both male and female, ask this question. The maternity leave is not clear on such indications but it clearly states that a woman is eligible for a total of three months maternity leave and an addition of her annual leave with a full pay. This is a clear indication of the exact duration of maternity leave to expectant employees in Ghana.
A nursing mother is also entitled to a one-hour interruption during her working hours for the purpose of nursing her baby and that hour should be treated as working hours and paid accordingly. Ghana labour law on maternity leave indicates that an employer cannot terminate an employment due to a pregnancy, during maternity leave or even soon after resuming work from maternity leave.
An employer cannot engage a pregnant woman for overtime work. An employer in Ghana is not allowed to assign a pregnant worker to a post outside her place of residence after completion of her 4th month of pregnancy. This rule remains the same for expectant employees on temporary and permanent agreement. However, the threat posed by such transfers must be attested to by a medical practitioner or midwife as detrimental to the woman’s health.
Every expectant employee should be knowledgeable on how to calculate maternity leave in Ghana. Although there are no specifications on when the maternity leave should start, this entirely depends on the expectant employee. However, many of them are guided by their expected date of delivery so that they can have the better part of their leave days nursing their bundle of joy. This also clarifies this question - how many days is maternity leave in Ghana?
Women in Ghana have been limited in their careers due to childbirth because when a woman gives birth, she requires some time to rest and exclusively breastfeed her baby for six months. Perhaps this is the reason why the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is advocating for 6 months maternity leave for pregnant women.
READ ALSO: Maternity Leave in the Philippines
Quest for 6 months maternity leave
The GMA has called for the review of labor laws to grant an addition of 3 months maternity leave to add up to 6 months for expectant employees. They have also called for the mandatory establishment of nurseries in all public and private institutions. The nurseries would be to enable mothers breastfeed their babies during breaks. They also noted that the proven benefits of six months of exclusive breastfeeding to newborns call for an increase in the current three months maternity leave to six months.
The GMA advocates that expectant employees should start their maternity leave six weeks prior to the date of delivery. Most institutions in Ghana currently give a three month maternity leave and from there, if a mother wants to stay longer with the baby, she can go ahead and apply for her annual leave.
Maternity leave for teachers in Ghana is three months and there have been requests from institutions such as the Integrated Youth Needs and Welfare to extend the maternity leave to six months to pave way for exclusive breastfeeding to their babies.
It’s argued that most institutions may not want to pay someone for a whole six months when they are actually not commercially involved in their respective workplaces. This argument has led to some institutions firing their female employees immediately they start giving birth.
Maternity and paternity leave
Maternity and paternity leave are important for both parents to have the opportunity to welcome and bond with the newest member of the family. While maternity leave is mandatory in Ghana, paternity leave tends to be forgotten. The father of the child at times is locked out of this exciting and important moment and the only chance he has is after working hours when he is already tired and exhausted.
The essence of paternity leave is to enable men to take care of their wives and assist the new mothers with the numerous house chores they have to do. This is also his chance to bond with his baby. The law on maternity leave in Ghana fully recognizes the maternity leave but the silence in regards to paternity leave is a clear indication that paternity leave is excluded and this seems to be unfair considering that fathers would also like to have a chance to familiarize themselves with the changes a newborn brings to a home.
The above information is a perfect guide for you to answer this question - how is maternity leave calculated in Ghana. Maternity leave in Ghana is an important period in the lives of mothers. This article clearly states all the requirements for one to qualify for maternity leave in terms of who is eligible, at what time and for how long. This is to ensure that both employees and employers do what is expected of them.