New paternity leave law looms

By Qama Qukula for Cape Talk

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a landmark law that provides new fathers with 10 days consecutive paid leave after the birth of their child.

But many questions remain about the amendments, what they mean, and when they come into effect.

According to Business Tech, labour minister Thulas Nxesi referred the amendments and the corresponding regulations to the Unemployment Insurance Board for consultation. The next steps will see the amendments gazetted for public comments before the legislation is finalised.

Employment law expert Anli Bezuidenhout tackled some frequently asked questions about parental leave and how it will apply to fathers.

Who pays?
Paternity leave will be paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), it will not be the employer’s responsibility.

How much?
Employees will be given a partial payout. It can be up to 66% of the father’s salary.

Can dads bargain?
Employees can negotiate some kind of co-payment with their employer to pay the balance of their salary and establish a work back contract for when they return to work.

When must the leave be taken?
The leave may commence when the child is born. Bezuidenhout says the Act provides the scope for fathers to negotiate with their employers.

What must employers do?
Employers need to amend their employment contracts to make them compliant with this new law.

What happens to family responsibility leave?
The three days of family responsibility leave will still exist and remains separate from parental leave.

However, it cannot be used when a child is born. It can be used in cases when a child falls sick or passes away.

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