Can someone please give me advice.
I have a domestic worker that's been on maternity leave from 17 October last year. The 4 months will expire on Friday and she is due to be back at work on Monday 20 Feb. I have a signed employment contract with her as well as a signed undertaking from her to take maternity leave as per the dates and to return to work on 20 Feb.
She now claims that her baby is too young for her to return to work yet and I must give her another 2 months maternity leave until end April when the baby will be 6 months old.
now my questions:
1) Does the law force me to keep her job open for her beyond the 4 months maternity leave until such time she feels that it is time to start working again?
2) Am I obliged to allow her another 2 months off or can I refuse extra leave?
3) I know very well that to fire someone due to pregnancy/child birth is seen as discriminating and I must give her job back to her after 4 months, but if she doesn't want to start working again even if I request/tell her to, will it count against me as it will be her that refuse to take up duty again while her job is hers to return to.
4) Can I give her the option to resign if she wants to look after her baby and not return to work? (I know I can't force a mother to choose between her job and family) and can this be seen as constructive dismissal?
5) If she refuses to resign and if I refuse to give her extra leave, will it be seen as abscondment and what will the steps be?
Many thanks in advance.