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Maternity leave is set to increase as the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry is currently reviewing the Labour Act to realign it with the new constitution, an official has said.

This would see all formally employed women having more than three months fully paid leave, giving them an opportunity to have more time to nurse their babies.

Giving oral evidence to the portfolio committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, director of labour administration in the Public Service ministry, Precious Sibiya, said this was a matter of urgency.

"We want to remove that obstacle of short maternity leave period so mothers can have enough time to look after their babies before they go back to work," she said.

The ministry's principal director, Sydney Mhishi, said studies had also revealed that women bear the brunt of poverty hence must be supported at all levels.

"The constitution stipulates that maternity leave should be fully paid, the current legislation has its short comings in that it specifies times and intervals where one should be granted maternity leave," he said.

Mhishi said they were also seeking to entrench issues of maternity leave and equal pay for equal value to be contained in the Public Service Act.

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