State declares when maternity leave for mothers with premature babies should start

ARUSHA: The government has announced that the period of special care for premature babies will not be included in maternal leave entitlements.
Instead, maternal leave will commence immediately after the specified period has elapsed.

Vice President Dr. Philip Mpango made this declaration during the Workers’ Day celebration, famously known as ‘May Day,’ in Arusha on Wednesday, stating that the leave for mothers whose babies are born prematurely will begin after confirmation from doctors regarding the completion of special care treatments.

“I would like to emphasize that maternity leave is one of the rights of employees and is provided for a period of 84 days for someone who gives birth to one child and 100 days if she gives birth to more than one child.

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“But if an employee gives birth to a child or children who are premature, these kids are placed in a special room full of machines under the care of specialists and doctors. Therefore, the mother’s leave will not commence until the doctors are fully satisfied with the child’s health,” the Vice President stated.

However, Dr. Mpango mentioned that after the maternity leave period, mothers will be allowed to return to their respective working stations at 1:30 PM to breastfeed their children for a period of six months.

“For private employees, it should be noted that the government recognizes the importance of protecting the rights of mothers and their children.
“We are in the process of amending the Employment and Work Relations Act to clearly state that maternity leave commences once a premature child has completed the special care period, as confirmed by doctors,” he insisted.

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