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By means of Legal Notice 257 of 2015, published on 13th August 2015, a Maternity Leave Trust Fund has been set up effective on 6th July 2015. The Trust Fund is aimed at helping equal employment opportunities in the private sector. The Trust Fund shall receive contributions specifically payable by employers (in respect of each and every employee - male and female) as stipulated by the tenth schedule of the Social Security Act.
Rates of contributions payable by Employers are stipulated by Legal Notice 258 of 2015. These weekly rates vary depending on the age and the basis weekly wage of each and every employee. Such contributions are payable every month to the Inland Revenue Department through the Form FS5. The Form FS5 has been amended accordingly to cater for the contribution due by employers towards the fund.
The payment of this contribution for the month of July may be made by the end of September 2015. However, the payment of tax and social security contribution due for the month of July should still be made by the end of August 2015. The yearly forms, namely the FS3 and FS7, will be amended to reflect the contributions paid.
An employee on maternity leave is entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave on full pay. When the employee chooses to avail herself for additional maternity leave, the employer shall not be obliged to pay any wages for those additional 4 weeks of maternity leave beyond the 14 weeks. Employers who contribute to the Trust Fund, shall be entitled to re-imbursement for the salary paid to their employees during 14 weeks maternity leave.
Employers who fail to pay such contribution, will be liable to fines and penalties as indicated on the Social Security Act and will lose their entitlement for any re-imbursement for maternity leave paid while still remain responsible to pay the full wages to the employee during the 14 weeks maternity leave.