The Labour Laws Amendment Bill was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa and is now an Act. While there are a few more processes to follow before the Act becomes binding, it brings a host of new benefits to parents.
The Act provides for three types of leave not currently in place, namely parental-, adoption- and commissioning parental leave.
It also provides for paid parental benefits as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
Currently a father is entitled to three days’ Family Responsibility leave when their child is born. In future, employees will be entitled to ten consecutive days parental leave.
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act:
Reasonable proof of an event granted by the Act, is still required and employers may safely assume that reasonable proof will be required from the applicant parent, similar to the requirements from UIF offices.
Payment for parental leave
The employer will not be liable for payment, as the employee must claim payment from the UIF, the benefits/payment of which will be determined by the Minister, subject to the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001 as amended.
According to the Labour Laws Amendment Act, the Unemployed Insurance Act will be amended to allow for a claim and payment of 66% of the employee’s earnings as at the date of the claim. However, payment is still subject to the maximum income threshold as set by the Act.
Payment from the Fund is subject to at least 13 weeks’ contributions to the Fund, prior the date of application.
An important factor to bear in mind is that fathers only qualify for parental leave if their name appears on the child’s birth certificate.
The Labour Laws Amendment Act has not been published and as a result, not enforceable as yet. This should however not dishearten you, as this is a major breakthrough for South Africa’s Labour Laws!
By Tiekie Mocke, MISA’s Manager: Legal Department