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South Africa’s new paternity leave laws are coming

| Legislation

The long-awaited amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act (UIFA) are nearing implementation.

On 4 September 2019, 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.

“The conclusion of this process, will see employees being entitled to 10 days of paid parental leave or 10 weeks of paid adoption or commissioning parental leave based on the choice of the individuals concerned,” says John Botha, COO of Global Business Solutions.

“The periods when the employees are absent from work will be paid at 66% of their salary (up to a threshold) and will be funded by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

“Although it is a step in providing some paid relief for employees in these contexts the reality is that employers will have to up their workforce planning and scheduling as well as amend their human resources policies as may be appropriate.”

Delay

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill was originally signed into law by president Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2018.

However, uncertainty about when the regulations would officially come into effect caused havoc at some businesses.

“Section 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, and 16 of the Labour Laws Amendment Act deals with parental, adoption, and commissioning of parental leave and related benefits.

“Through these amendments, UIF contributors will have the right to claim for parental, and commissioning parental benefits,” said UIF Commissioner, Teboho Maruping in a statement in June.

“Since these are new benefits we need to upgrade our systems, develop regulations, and design new forms for processing of applications.”

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