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34 1994

MATERNITY PROTECTION ACT, 1994

PART III

Leave to Protect Health and Safety of Pregnant Employees, etc.

Employees to whom Part III applies.

17. —This Part applies to—

(a) pregnant employees;

(b) employees who have recently given birth; and

(c) employees who are breastfeeding.

Leave on health and safety grounds.

18. —(1) If, by regulations under the 1989 Act implementing the 1992 Directive, an employer is required to move an employee to whom this Part applies to other work (whether as a result of a risk assessment or because the employee cannot be required to perform night work), but—

(a) it is not technically or objectively feasible for the employer to move the employee as required by the regulations, or

(b) such a move cannot reasonably be required on duly substantiated grounds, or

(c) the other work to which the employer proposes to move the employee is not suitable for her,

the employee shall be granted leave from her employment under this section.

(2) Where an employee is granted leave under this section, she shall be entitled to receive, on request to her employer, a certificate, in such form as may be determined by regulations—

(a) stating that she has been granted leave for whichever of the reasons in paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1) is appropriate in the circumstances and containing such supplementary information as the regulations may require; and

(b) specifying the date on which the leave began and its expected duration.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1) (c), other work is suitable for an employee if it is—

(a) of a kind which is suitable in relation to the employee concerned, as an employee to whom this Part applies; and

(b) appropriate for the employee to do in all the circumstances.

(4) For the first 21 days of leave granted to an employee by an employer under this section in any relevant period, the employee shall be entitled to receive from the employer remuneration of an amount determined in accordance with regulations.

(5) Regulations under subsection (2) or subsection (4) shall be made by the Minister after consultation with—

(a) the Minister for Finance;

(b) the Minister for Social Welfare; and

(c) the Minister for Enterprise and Employment.

(6) In subsection (4)relevant period”, in relation to an employee, means the period beginning with her pregnancy and continuing beyond any confinement resulting from that pregnancy until she ceases to be an employee who has recently given birth or, as the case may be, an employee who is breastfeeding.

(7) Regulations under subsection (4) may provide that such day or days as may be determined under the regulations shall be left out of account in calculating the 21 days referred to in that subsection.

Ending of leave under section 18 where no change of circumstances.

19. —(1) Subject to subsection (2) and section 20 , leave granted to an employee under section 18 shall end—

(a) in the case of leave granted to a pregnant employee, immediately before her maternity leave begins; and

(b) in any other case, on the date on which she ceases to be an employee to whom this Part applies.

(2) Where an employee to whom leave is granted under section 18 is employed under a contract for a fixed term and that term expires before the day which, apart from this subsection, would be the day on which that leave would end, then—

(a) the last day of the leave so granted to her shall be the day on which the term expires; and

(b) nothing in this Part shall affect the termination of the employee's contract of employment on that day.

Ending of leave under section 18 on change of circumstances.

20. —(1) If an employee to whom leave has been granted under section 18 as being an employee who is breastfeeding ceases breastfeeding, she shall, at the earliest practical time, notify her employer in writing that she has so ceased.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), if, during a period of leave granted to an employee under section 18 , the employee becomes aware that her condition is no longer such that she is vulnerable to the risk by virtue of which she was granted the leave, she shall at the earliest practical time notify her employer in writing that she is no longer at risk.

(3) Where an employer receives notification from an employee under subsection (1) or subsection (2), and has no reason to believe that, if the employee returned to work, she would be vulnerable to risk as an employee to whom this Part applies—

(a) the employer shall take all reasonable measures to enable the employee to return to work in the job which she held immediately before the start of her leave and shall then notify her in writing that she can resume work in that job; and

(b) the leave granted to the employee under section 18 shall end seven days after the notification under paragraph (a) is received by her or, if it is earlier, on the day she returns to work.

(4) If, during a period of leave granted to an employee under section 18 , her employer—

(a) either takes whatever measures are necessary to ensure that she will no longer be exposed to any risk by virtue of which she was granted the leave or becomes able to move the employee as mentioned in section 18 (1), and

(b) notifies the employee in writing that she can return to work without exposure to that risk or, as the case may be, that other work is available to her which is suitable for her as mentioned in section 18 (3),

the leave granted to the employee under section 18 shall end seven days after the notification under paragraph (b) is received by her or, if it is earlier, on the day she returns to work or, as the case may be, takes up the other work.