Question 147: The Labor Code allows female Employees to return to work at least 4 months after the maternity leave. If both Employers and Employees agree on such return on the basis of certification by the competent medical examination and treatment establishment that the early return to work does not harm Employees’ health, may female Employees get back to work earlier than 4 months?

Article 157.4 of the Labor Code clearly stipulates that before the expiration of the maternity leave period of 6 months, but if necessary and as certified by the competent medical examination and treatment establishment early working is not harmful to female Employees’ health and as agreed by Employers, female Employees may return to work after a minimum leave of 4 months.

As such, procedural conditions, such as certification by a medical establishment or agreement by Employer are only necessary after the first condition – female Employees’ maternity leave of at least 04 months – is met. This provision is intended to ensure the women’s health after childbirth and the best care given to new-borns by mothers during their first months. Therefore, even if female Employees voluntarily agrees with Employers on returning to work temporarily for a short period time to assist Employers, Employers must not require female Employees on maternity leave to work ahead of schedule as aforesaid.