Paternity Leave : Know your rights

Parental leave creates a great opportunity for parents to bond with their children. Therefore allowing both partners to give each other the necessary support.

The term “parental leave” includes maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Parental leave policies impact on gender equality as it relates to parenting.  Therefore various countries  use this as a tool to promote gender equality.

As per the Labour Amendment Act, from January 2019, working South African men are entitled paternity leave. To clarify, this is 10 consecutive days of parental leave. This leave can be taken from the date that the child is born.

The Labour Amendment Act also includes provisions parental adoption leave  and surrogacy leave, as well as increased UIF and maternity benefits. 10 weeks of parental adoption leave apply if the baby is under the age of 2 years. Please note that adoption leave only applies to one parent.

Who is responsible for the payment of the paternity leave?

Paternity leave is paid for by the South African Unemployment Insurance Fund. Payment is at a rate of 66% of the total earnings of the employee at the date of application. However, this is subject to certain rules and conditions.  A threshold constraint will apply.

An employee must notify the employer in writing one month prior to the child’s expected birth date. This notice needs to include the date which the employee intends to commence parental leave. Additionally, they would need to specify the date they intend to return to work.

Family responsibility leave will no longer be applicable with regards to the birth of employees’ children.

Be advised that fathers need to have worked for at least 13 weeks before they are entitled to any parental leave payments.

Basic Conditions of Employment Act changes

Paternity leave is additional leave. This leave is separate from the employee’s annual leave, leave bonus or sick leave.

Companies will have to revise their policies to accommodate these changes to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

This article is for general information purposes. Therefore this information should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions; nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

Thanks to DKVG Attorneys for this helpful information.

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