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close this bookMaternity Protection at Work: Revision of the Maternity Protection Convention (ILO, 1997, 122 p.)
close this folder4. Employment protection
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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 absence.

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. 119).

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 l’OCDE”, in Perspectives de l’emploi, Ch. 5 (Paris, July 1995).

17 ibid., p. 202; M.-J. Saurel-Cubizolles: Reprise du travail aprla naissance d’un 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 birth.