Women´s Work (Maternity Protection)
The Constitution of the Republic of Cape Verde establishes the right to work, the principle of equality and protects women’s work. Although women’s work is founded on constitutional bases, it also has a specific chapter in the Cape Verdean Labor Code, enshrining a regime of minimum protection, of biological protection, guaranteed during pregnancy and postpartum, also ensuring, in this way, job conservation.
During the period of pregnancy and after childbirth, working women are guaranteed, among others, the following rights:
- Not perform, without a reduction in salary, work inadvisable to your state;
- Not perform overtime or night work, nor be displaced from the usual workplace;
- Discontinue daily work to breastfeed and care for children, without loss of salary.
- At the time of childbirth, a woman is entitled to 60 days of maternity leave.
- The father is entitled to leave, for a period equal to that to which the mother would be entitled or the remainder of that period if the mother has already taken some days of leave, in the following cases:
- Physical or mental incapacity of the mother, and as long as she remains;
- Mother’s death.
License for consultations
The pregnant worker should, whenever possible, use prenatal consultations outside the normal hours of the company.
When consultation is only possible within the company’s normal operating hours, the employee may be required to present a document proving this circumstance.
Special license for high-risk pregnancy
The pregnant worker in a situation of risk to herself, or to the unborn child, impeding the exercise of functions, whatever the reason determining the impediment, enjoys the right to special leave for the time necessary to prevent the risk, if she is not guaranteed the exercise of functions and/or location compatible with their state.
Dispensation for breastfeeding
For the purposes of breastfeeding, the worker is entitled, during the first six months after childbirth, to 45 minutes of time off in each work period.
Unless proven otherwise, the dismissal of a pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding woman is presumed to be done without just cause.
In conclusion, we leave a critical view of the current regime: In Cape Verde, only maternity protection is mentioned. However, in order to achieve the much-proclaimed gender equality and equity, it is understood that paternity leave should be adopted as a way of giving parents the opportunity to be with their children, right at birth, and that the father thus help the mother in caring for the baby. After birth, and especially in the baby’s first month of life, the mother needs help in caring for the baby, especially if the birth was by cesarean, as she herself is weaker. Out of curiosity, we also draw attention to the fact that the regime does not provide specific rights in the case of twin pregnancy, that is, a worker who has twins, triplets or more, is entitled to the same period of maternity leave and leave for breastfeeding, when it actually has different challenges and needs more time to take care of all the babies.
Maternity and paternity are equally important, as they constitute eminent social values. Workers must have the right to protection from society and the State in carrying out their irreplaceable action in relation to the exercise of parenting (maternity and parenting).