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New paternity leave rights for South African fathers take a step closer

| Legislation

Following its introduction as a private members bill by the ACDP, the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development has adopted the Labour Laws Amendment Bill and issued it for public comment.

Among other changes, the bill proposes parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave to employees, and provide that a collective agreement may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave.

Effectively this means that new fathers would be entitled to 10 days consecutive leave after their spouse has given birth, while adopting parents (who were previously not specifically catered for), will be eligible for 10 weeks leave.

Under the proposed bill, the employee may commence parental leave on:

  • The day that the employee’s child is born; or
  • The date that the adoption order is granted or placed in the care of a prospective adoptive parent.

In addition, an employee must notify an employer in writing of the date on which the employee intends to commence parental leave, when they plan to and return to work after parental leave. at least one month before the employee’s child is expected to be born – or when reasonably practicable.

“The ACDP is of the opinion that such a provision would facilitate early bonding between fathers and their children and that stronger and healthier families would be one of the many potential benefits for society as a whole,” it explained in an explanatory note.

“The bill, which deals with parental leave and also provides for adoption and surrogacy leave, is drafted so as to ensure harmony with current legislation and to ensure the provisions contained in the bill will pass constitutional muster.”

You can find the entire bill here and details on how to comment here.


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