The Labour Laws Amendment Bill, first introduced to South Africa’s parliament in November 2015, and has been passed by the National Assembly. If it passes the review process by the National Council of Provinces and authorised by the President, it will ensure that fathers have the right to ten consecutive days leave when a child is born or adopted.
Nicol Myburgh, Head – HR Business Unit at CRS Technologies, a leader in HR and HCM solutions market, says that currently paternity leave falls under the scope of family responsibility leave.
Currently, as prescribed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, male employees are entitled to three days paid family responsibility leave following the birth of their child.
“But there is no separate statutory leave type to provide for paternity leave until now. This has been in the works for some time now, on 25 November 2015 a draft bill was published in the government gazette which proposes to amend BCEA and the Unemployment Insurance Act. The draft amendment bill aims to give employees who are parents (regardless of gender), parental, adoption and surrogacy leave as well as UIF benefits,” says Myburgh.
The Bill, if passed, will entrench the right to claim payment of parental benefits, ten consecutive weeks adoption leave if the child adopted is below the age of two, the right to claim payment of adoption benefits and ten weeks ‘commissioning parental leave’ for employees in a surrogate motherhood agreement.
Additionally, as CRS Technologies points out, if there are two adoptive parents, one of the parents may apply for parental leave and the other adoption leave. If there are two commissioning parents, one of the parents may apply for parental leave and the other parent may apply for commissioning parental leave.
Local media reports have noted the Bill was proposed by the ACDP and in a statement the political party said, “The bill seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. It also provides for the payment of parental benefits as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.”