The bill was proposed by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley, and it aims to give fathers the opportunity to take paternity leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. It also makes provisions for the payment of parental benefits as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
The bill outlines: “Fathers play an important role in the upbringing of their children.”
“Having done some research on this issue, 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.”
Here are five things you need to know about the bill and paternal rights in SA:
1. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act currently caters for maternity leave
The Act currently stipulates that an employee may take up to four months maternity leave in respect of that employee’s child. The Unemployment Insurance Fund pays for this maternity leave.
2. Fathers currently receive three days of Family Responsibility leave
An employee who is the father of the child may take three days family responsibility leave when that employee’s child is born. The family responsibility leave is paid for by the employer.
3. Fathers will now receive 10 days of paternity leave
The new amendments provide that fathers receive 10 days paternity leave paid for by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
4. Adoptive parents will be eligible for 10 weeks leave
The bill also provides for an employee who is a single adoptive parent of a child less than two years old. This employee is entitled to adoption leave of two months and two weeks consecutively. If there are two adoptive parents then one may take 10 weeks and the other parent is entitled to 10 days consecutive leave. This a landmark achievement not only for heterosexual couples starting families but also for the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex) community.
5. Surrogate parents are also entitled to 10 days of leave
Commissioning parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement may also take 10 days consecutive leave after the birth of the child. The bill also stipulates that family responsibility leave when a child is born no longer applies and the employer may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental leave, adoption leave or commissioning (surrogate) parental leave.