Did you know that now a father of a newborn child is entitled to paternity leave?
It has been a difficult and a long journey for the demands of men to be met. Now that the Labour Law Amendment Act and Unemployment Insurance Fund Act has been signed, the picture is changing. These amendments are aimed to provide new fathers with paid paternal leave.
Men were provided with 3 (three) consecutive days for Family Responsibility Leave in terms of section 27 of the Basic Condition of Employment Act when their child is born. This highlighted gender inequality, in which men are not afforded equal opportunity with women. The case of MIA V State Information Technology Agency (Pty) Ltd (D 312/2012)  ZALCD 20 provided us with a significant judgment involving maternity leave; paternity leave and adoption leave.
South African law now recognises paternal leave. Fathers are now afforded an opportunity to bond with their new-born child. They are now entitled to 10 consecutive days after the birth of their child. Section 25A (1) provides that an employee, who is a parent of a child, is entitled to at least ten consecutive days of parental leave. Paternity leave must commence after the birth of the child. The Act also makes provision for Adoption Leave, in terms of section 25B (1)(a) which provides that parent of a child is entitled to 10 consecutive weeks after adoption order has been granted, it is important to note that this only applies when an adoptive child is under the age of 2 (two) years and applies to one parent only. It must be noted that this does not affect Family Responsibility Leave in terms of section 27 of the Basic Condition of Employment Act.
Amendment of this Act also goes with Unemployment Insurance Fund Act which has also been amended, in terms of which new fathers also entitled to paid paternal leave. Paternity leave is paid out by way of UIF and/or paid by UIF.
It is always advisable that you consult with Labour Expert or a legal practitioner if you need more information or assistance on steps to take to claim for paternity leave.
TSHENOLO MOTSEBE is a candidate attorney at Adrie Wahl Attorneys.