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.
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.