According to Statistics South Africa, the life expectancy of the average South African is increasing:

  • In 2018, it was 64.5 years for men and 71.5 years for women.
  • However ten years prior to this, it was 62.1 years for mean and 68.8 years for women.

As we grow older, we become affected by age-related diseases and, because people are living longer, they have more time to be afflicted by these diseases. This necessitates that they have people looking after them which – in most cases – means their adult children.

This means that these children have been thrust into the situation of becoming caregivers for their elderly parents in addition to their minor children. This has prompted a man in the Western Cape – who was in the position of having to care for his elderly relatives – to petition Parliament for leave to care for elderly relatives in the same manner as maternity leave provisions have been extended to include fathers as well as adoptive and surrogate parents. The result will be negotiations at Nedlac for further leave. This leave will be proposed as unpaid but let’s see where negotiations go.

Held up by processes

As at the time of writing, the provisions surrounding the extended rights to parental leave had not been enacted. This is because the UIF systems have not been amended in order to cater for this new provision.

With this new petition being made to Parliament, we feel that the parental leave amendments could be extended to include employees being entitled to leave in order to care for their elderly relatives. Should this amendment come to pass, it will need to be strictly regulated and adequate evidence will need to be provided as the potential for widespread abuse of this provision exists. Watch this space and we will keep you posted on the date for implementation of the Gazette on additional parental days.

At our Mid-Year Labour Law Update seminars, we will be taking a closer look at Parental Leave: the myths and the reality, so be sure to join us on:

  • 29 May – East London
  • 4 June – Johannesburg
  • 11 June – Cape Town
  • 12 June – Port Elizabeth
  • 13 June – Durban

Click here to find out more about the events and to register.

Kind regards,
Johnny & Grant

Jonathan Goldberg and Grant Wilkinson