Over the past two years or so, the issue of family responsibility leave (read paternity leave) has come under the spotlight with fathers countrywide demanding more than the three current three days of family responsibility leave.

Labour Law Amendment Bill (LLAB) proposes radical changes to family responsibility leave

At the end of 2015, the LLAB was introduced as a private members bill in Parliament. What this means is that a Member of Parliament (MP) introduced this Bill to Parliament instead of the minister of a government department, which is usually the case.

Members’ bills usually do not get very far in the legislative process. However, the LLAB has received support from heavy-hitters such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) which will probably make a huge difference in the Bill seeing the light of day as an Act.

What does the LLAB propose?

Parental leave entitlement will be introduced

If an employee of yours becomes a parent for the first time, or has another child, he will be entitled to at least 10 consecutive days of parental leave. This period will begin on the date that:

  • The employee’s child is born,
  • The adoption order is granted,
  • The child is placed – by a Court – in the care of prospective adoptive parent(s) pending the completion of a final adoption order.

Before this leave can be taken, the employee must have worked for you for four consecutive months.

Adoption leave is granted to an employee, regardless of their gender, for a child who is under the age of two. The adoptive parent(s) will be entitled to:

  • Ten consecutive weeks of adoption leave, or
  • Ten days of parental leave.

If an adoption order is made for two parents to adopt a child, one parent may apply for parental leave and the other may apply for adoption leave.

Commissioning parental leave

An employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement is entitled to:

  • 10 weeks’ commissioning parental leave, or
  • The usual amount of parental leave.

(A “commissioning parent” is a person who enters into a surrogate motherhood agreement with a surrogate mother. This parent can be of either gender and there could be more than one commissioning parent. Where there are two commissioning parents, one will be allowed 10 weeks’ consecutive leave and the other will then be entitled to parental leave)

The LLAB is still being considered by the National Assembly.

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