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10-day paid parental leave kicks in from January 1

Dec 31 2019 08:35

Trade union federation Cosatu on Monday said parental leave - which now includes working dads and some other caregivers - was a "historic and long fought for victory for workers, parents, children and families across South Africa".

President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2018 promulgated the Labour Relations and the Labour Amendment acts, which made provision for parental leave. The president signed off on the commencement of sections in the acts related to paid parental leave on December 18, 2019, according to a gazette issued by the Employment and Labour Department last week. 

This means parental leave became effective. This was in addition to provisions of the Labour Laws Amendment Act which had already come into effect in November, which applied to the Unemployment Insurance Act, and legally allowed for the payment of UIF to parents who were on parental leave. 

Cosatu's parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks issued a warning to employers to comply with the law. "Employers who defy it will be violating Unemployment Insurance and Basic Conditions of Employment Acts," Parks said.

Parents are entitled to take parental leave once a calendar year and they must apply for it from their employer.

Workers claims

In the event that an employer cannot pay the full salary of the worker, a claim can be lodged with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, Parks noted. "The UIF will pay those workers 66% of their salary up to the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) earnings cap of R205 433.30 per annum," he added.

"We encourage all eligible parents to exercise this progressive right. Equally it is important that parents use this leave for what it is intended for, namely to help the mother recuperate from birth and to take care of their new born child," Parks said.

Compiled by Lameez Omarjee.

* This article was amended on 3 January 2020 to reflect that the legislation makes provision for parental leave and the payment of UIF respectively. 



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