Parental Leave in Africa: A Guide Across 50+ African countries

Dark skinned parents celebrating child birthday

Parenthood is a fact of life and, as such, it sometimes blends into the professional life of an employee. On this account, the ILO (International Labour Organisation), a UN agency, recommends parental leave for both, mothers and fathers, with women being given more leave than men to prepare for and recover from child-bearing. In recent years, parental leave has become more widespread, with extensive parental leave in Nordic countries making headlines. Naturally, maternity and paternity leaves vary from country to country. So how do African countries fare? And what are your obligations and responsibilities as an employer?

What is a parental leave?

Parental leave is paid or unpaid leave that would-be parents are entitled to, both before and after the birth of their child. Since women are principally concerned with child-bearing, it follows that they are generally entitled to significantly more off days than men. Paternity leave, on the other hand, has only become normalized recently. Even so, a considerable number of African countries such as Ghana and Sudan do not have mandatory paternity leave to this day.

 

Mandatory parental leave may be fully paid, partly paid, or unpaid in some cases. In Nigeria for instance, maternity and paternity pay, both amount to 50% of an employee’s salary. In Mozambique or Cameroon, on the other hand, both parents are entitled to 100% of their salary during their parental leave.

Regional differences

Additionally, and adding another layer of complexity to the subject, there may even be regional twists to legislation concerning parental leave. In Nigeria for instance, fathers are allowed two weeks of paid leave when they are in Lagos. However, Nigerian fathers in the city of Enugu enjoy up to three weeks of paternity leave.

So, as with most laws, there is a highly local component to parental leave – and knowledge of the law in one part of the country may not equal knowledge of the law in another, as one may mistakenly believe. This example perfectly illustrates the importance of knowing all the intricacies of labour law. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to have a knowledgeable partner by their side.

Africa HR Solutions provides a wealth of labour law knowledge, thanks to our many local partnerships with experts in over 50 African countries. Through our Employer of Record services, we take on the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the law as well as dispensing payroll to employees, which also includes calculating leaves.

Maternity and Paternity Leaves across Africa

CENTRAL AFRICA

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Angola

12 weeks

Calculated using the cumulative earnings of the preceding six months

1 day

TBC

Cameroon

14 weeks

100% of their salary

10 days

100% of their salary

Central African Republic

14 weeks, may be extended by 3 weeks in case of illness

TBC

0 days

Chad

14 weeks

TBC

2 weeks

TBC

Democratic Republic of Congo

14 weeks

⅔ of their pay, including benefits

2 days

TBC

Equatorial Guinea

12 weeks

TBC

0 days

Gabon

14 weeks

TBC

TBC

TBC

Republic of Congo

14 weeks

100% of their salary

2 days

100% of their salary

Sao Tome & Principe

60 days

TBC

TBC

TBC

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Botswana

12 weeks

At least 50% of their salary

0 days

Lesotho

12 weeks

TBC

0 days

Mozambique

60 days

100% of their salary

1 day

100% of their salary

Namibia

4 weeks

100% of their salary

0 days

South Africa

4 months

Unpaid

10 days

Unpaid

Eswatini

12 weeks

2 weeks paid for if employee has been in employment for minimum 1 year

0 days

Zambia

14 weeks

100% of their salary

7 days

Unpaid

Zimbabwe

98 days

TBC

0 days

EASTERN AFRICA

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Burundi

14 weeks

⅔ of preceding salary

4 days

100% of their salary

Djibouti

14 weeks

Paid but amount TBC

3 days

Paid but amount TBC

Eritrea

60 days

Paid but amount TBC

3 days

Paid but amount TBC

Ethiopia

120 days

100% of their salary

3 days

100% of their salary

Kenya

3 months

100% of their salary

2 weeks

100% of their salary

Malawi

8 weeks minimum

100% of their salary

0 days

Rwanda

12 weeks        

100% of their salary 

4 days

100% of their salary

Somalia

14 weeks

50% of their salary 

TBC

TBC

Tanzania

12 weeks

TBC

3 days

TBC

Uganda

60 days

100% of their salary

4 days

100% of their salary

NORTHERN AFRICA

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Algeria

14 weeks

100% of their salary

3 days

100% of their salary

Egypt

90 days

100% of their salary

3 days

100% of their salary

Libya

14 weeks and up to 16 weeks for multiple or complicated births

TBC

0 days

Morocco

14 weeks

100% of their salary

3 days

100% of their salary

South Sudan

90 days

100% of their salary

2 weeks

100% of their salary

Sudan

8 weeks

Paid but amount TBC

0

–         

Tunisia

30 days and 15 more days in case of illness or complications

TBC

1 day

100% of their salary

WESTERN AFRICA

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Benin

14 weeks

Paid but amount TBC

3 days

TBC

Burkina Faso

14 weeks

100% of their salary

20 days

100% of their salary

Cabo Verde

60 days

80% of their salary

60 days less any amount already taken by the mother

TBC

Gambia

26 weeks

TBC

5 days

TBC

Ghana

12 weeks

100% of their salary

0

Guinea Conakry

14 weeks

100% of their salary

0 days

Guinea Bissau

60 days

100% of their salary

0 days

Ivory Coast

14 weeks

TBC

5 days

Unpaid

Liberia

3 months

100% of their salary

0 days

Mali

14 weeks

TBC

3 days

TBC

Mauritania

14 weeks

100% of their salary

TBC

TBC

Niger

14 weeks

TBC

 1 day

TBC

Nigeria

12 weeks

50% of their salary

2 weeks in Lagos, 3 weeks in Enugu

50% of their salary

Senegal

14 weeks

100% of their salary

0 days

Sierra Leone

12 weeks

Paid but amount TBC

0 days

Togo

14 weeks

TBC

0 days

 

INDIAN OCEAN

Country

Maternity leave

Maternity Pay

Paternity leave

Paternity pay

Comoros

14 weeks, and up to 17 weeks if there are complications or illnesses

100% of their salary

TBC

TBC

Madagascar

14 weeks

50% for employees covered by the labour code and at 100% for public servants

TBC

TBC

Seychelles

16 weeks of paid leave and an additional 4 weeks of unpaid leave

Amount TBC

10 days

TBC

Mauritius

12 weeks

100% of their salary

5 days

100% of their salary

 

 

 

 

How to successfully navigate parental leaves as an employer

An employee has announced that they are going to be a parent. How can you, as an employer, best support them and their co-workers?

1.Be open, understanding, and transparent

When an employee approaches you with the news of their upcoming parenthood, receive them warmly, it is happy news, after all! Through your attitude and words, ensure that the employee feels safe to talk with HR or the management, should they have any issues or questions.

2.Discuss expectations

Good communication is crucial to ensuring the success of this period of change. It is important that employers and employees alike are able to openly talk about their expectations for the upcoming days and months so as to ensure that work can carry on smoothly in the absence of the employee.

3.Plan takeover

From the moment when an employee first announces the news, the concerned managers or team leaders should begin planning how the team will go about with the distribution of work once the employee is on leave. This will allow the whole team to prepare accordingly.

4.Discuss compensation/bonuses with co-workers

Picking up a co-worker’s workload will require other employees to put in more time and effort. If possible, consider giving additional compensation for the work they are doing, especially if it goes beyond their scope of work. This will motivate employees to shoulder these new and extra responsibilities.

5.Consider hiring a replacement during peak time

If an employee’s parental leave coincides with a peak period for your business, it may well be worth it to consider employing another worker to replace them while they are gone. Otherwise, your other employees may face too much pressure and feel that they are being unfairly treated.

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Additional benefits employers can offer new parents

With employee experience being so tightly linked to employee retention, it can prove beneficial for companies to offer the following additional benefits to new parents:

1.    Unpaid leave

Parenthood, especially within the first few months of birth can be quite taxing on new parents, so offering them additional, unpaid leave may be helpful for parents who feel they need the extra time off.

2.    Switch to part-time work

Some parents may wish to spend more time with their children during the first few months or even years after their birth. So, to avoid losing talent, employers can offer full-time employees the opportunity to work on a part-time basis. In this way, the employee can enjoy the work-life balance they need while still being in touch with their job responsibilities and their co-workers.

3.    Offer the opportunity to work remotely

Remote work is another benefit that new parents will be grateful for. It is the best solution for those employees who wish to remain on a full-time basis but are looking for more flexibility. Once again, offering such benefits enhances the employee’s experience and favours employee retention.

4.    Offer medical insurance

A medical insurance plan can prove to be invaluable for new parents. But employers must be careful when offering such benefits as they need to extend them to all their employees, for fear of showing favouritism.

Employee benefits made easy with Africa HR Solutions

Our Employer of Record (EOR) solution makes dispensing mandatory and additional benefits easy, and all in full compliance with local labour law. By opting for EOR services, you ensure that there are no non-compliance risks for your business. Better still, you can then enjoy the peace of mind and time needed to focus on your core business.

 

Get in touch with us now to find out how our Employer of Record services can benefit your company!

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