In July of 2021, the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) released a media statement regarding Paper 153, Project 143 that aims to investigate the potential of government funding, via the UIF, in the form of maternity and parental benefits, for the self-employed informal economy workers in South Africa. Due to the nature of the way UIF is paid / collected, any self-employed worker is not required to contribute to UIF and as such are not able to submit any claim to UIF for a temporary or permanent loss of earnings. This 2nd discussion paper on the topic, resulting from the SALRC’s investigations focuses on identifying the gap in the current system of maternity and parental benefit mechanisms and how the gap could potentially be closed, and by whom. The paper contains questions for public comment, on or before 29 October 2021.
Covid 19 Absenteeism
Since the beginning of lockdown on 27 March 2020, employers have been faced with the problem of dealing with government legislated absence from work which does not fall into the traditional definitions of the leave provisions as per BCEA and the main agreement. Government legislated absence has left employers questioning how to deal with their forced absence and employees asking when they will receive their money.
While TERS went some way to compensating for the national wide enforced shutdown, some industries are still reeling from restrictions to their work and pay and employers are forced to look at other ways to recoup their loss of production.
Working fathers will now have more time to spend with their newborns as the law allowing paid paternity leave kicked in from yesterday, aiming at building better family relations in South Africa.
Fathers will now be entitled to 10 consecutive days of parental leave, which also applies when an adoption order is granted. The adopted child must, however, be under two years old.
One parent will be given adoption leave of two months, the other 10 days.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) will start processing claims for the new Parental Benefits from 1 November 2019, to contributing and qualifying UIF beneficiaries.
Amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, in November 2018 left both male and female employers excited at the prospect of additional leave for both new moms and dads. For the first time in South Africa, working dads are able to take leave when there is a new baby joining the family. In the past, new dads were restricted to using just the 3 days of Family Responsibility leave when there was a new baby in the family. Once used, there is no further opportunity, until a new leave cycle, for the working father to take leave other than unpaid, if and when the little one is ill or when baby’s mom is in need of assistance with looking after the baby, in the early months. During the first few months, many things can happen with baby which might require working dad’s to take some time off work to help out. So it was with great anticipation that the South African working force awaited the implementation of the new legislation.
Keep track for absenteeism with pay Solutions cloud-based Leave Management system
Would it surprise you to know that the average cost of employee absence from work result to an equivalent of 35% of your employee’s salaries? The net cost of absenteeism in terms of productivity is 19%, according to a study conducted by MERCER. Statistics South Africa estimates that the cost of absenteeism amounts to roughly 12 billion rand per year. In a market that is taking particular strain under the current economic conditions, high rates of absenteeism can cost your company financially as well as through lowered productivity, be it a small company, medium business or a large corporate organisation. While the cost of absenteeism and the corresponding loss of production can be quantified, the issue around how to manage leave and absenteeism within your company is less measureable. With the inevitable split between HR departments and systems and those of payroll, within many organisations, calculating the cost of leave management is an area which is particularly affected as a result.
Paternity Leave, Surrogacy and Adoption Leave Explained
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), section 27 thereof, provides for three days’ family responsibility leave for employees when their child is born. Should they require more time they have the option of taking annual leave, in addition to their three days’ family responsibility leave entitlement (per leave cycle). The family responsibility leave for when a child is born, however, is only applicable to employees who have been employed for at least 4 months and who work at least 4 days a week for the same employer. The BCEA currently does not make any provision for paternity leave as such, neither does it make provision for leave in cases of adoption or surrogacy.