1 Article 6 of Convention No. 103 (Article 4 of
Convention No. 3): it is unlawful for the employer to give the woman notice of
dismissal during her absence on maternity leave or to give her notice of
dismissal at such a time that the notice would expire during such
2 It is worth noting, as the Committee of Experts on
the Application of Conventions and Recommendations did in 1965 when it examined
national legislation and practice in matters of maternity protection, that the
prohibition does not oblige an employer terminating his activity or an
employer detecting a serious fault on the part of one of his women employees to
maintain the employment contract of a woman worker who is pregnant or confined,
despite reasons justifying dismissal, but merely to extend the legal period of
notice to the maximum by means of a supplementary period equal to the time
required to complete the period of protection....
3 Paragraph 4(1).
4 Paragraph 5(10).
5 For a recent analysis of national legislation and
practice in matters of equality of employment and occupation, see ILO:
Equality in Employment and Occupation, Report III(Part 4 B),
International Labour Conference, 83rd Session (Geneva, 1996).
6 Termination of Employment Recommendation, 1963 (No.
7 Case Wehh v. EMO Aircargo (UK)
Ltd.. 1994. IRLR 482. At the time of writing, the case had yet to be
reviewed by the British courts to which it was to be referred.
8 Article 5 (d) and (e). The Committee
of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations in 1995
conducted a study on the application of this Convention and of the Termination
of Employment Recommendation. 1982 (No. 166) which complements it. ILO:
Protection against unjustified, dismissal. Report III (Part 4B),
International Labour Conference. 82nd Session (Geneva, 1995).
9 Article 10.1.
10 As noted in Chapter 1, in the United Kingdom,
where cases relating to pregnancy and maternity leave account for the greatest
number of inquiries received by the Equal Opportunities Commission, more than
one in eight concerns dismissals.
11 S. Prechal and L. Senden: Implementation of
Directive 92/85 (pregnant workers), Special Report 1995 of the
Network of Experts on the Implementation of the Equality Directives,
document no. V/1717/96-EN (Brussels, European Commission, October 1996).
12 The situation of women wage-earners who become
unemployed is covered at international level by the Employment Promotion and
Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988 (No. 168), and Recommendation
No. 176 which supplements it.
13 Recommendation No. 95, Paragraph 4(3).
14 C. Callender, N. Millward, S. Lissenburgh and J.
Forth: Maternity rights and benefits in Britain, 1996 (London, Policies
Studies Institute, 1997), p. 101.
15 ibid., p. 61.
16 OECD: Le congarental de longue durdans
les pays de lOCDE, in Perspectives de lemploi, Ch. 5
(Paris, July 1995).
17 ibid., p. 202; M.-J. Saurel-Cubizolles: Reprise
du travail aprla naissance dun enfant et santes femmes. Rapport de
synth, juin 1996 (Villejuif, Unite Recherches dologiques sur la
Santes Femmes et des Enfants, 1996), p. 28.
18 And without any liability to compensation for
breach of the employment contract.
19 With 24 hours notice.
20 In Djibouti and Madagascar this is permitted for
15 months following the