Shedding light on Labour Laws Amendment Bill
The Labour Law Amendment Bill introduces new leave categories, that could affect your practice’s capacity
The Labour Laws Amendment Bill, was first introduced to South Africa’s parliament in November 2015, and has been passed by the National Assembly. If it passes the review process by the National Council of Provinces and is authorised by the President, it will ensure that fathers have the right to ten consecutive days leave when a child is born or adopted. Presently paternity leave falls under the scope of family responsibility leave.
Currently, as prescribed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), male employees are entitled to three days paid family responsibility leave following the birth of their child. However, until now there has been no separate statutory leave type to provide for paternity leave. These changes have been on the table since 25 November 2015 when a draft bill was published in the government gazette, proposing amendments to the BCEA and the Unemployment Insurance Act. The draft amendment bill aims to give employees who are parents (regardless of gender), parental, adoption and surrogacy leave as well as UIF benefits.
The Bill, if passed, will entrench the right to claim payment of parental benefits, ten consecutive weeks adoption leave if the child adopted is below the age of two, the right to claim payment of adoption benefits and ten weeks ‘commissioning parental leave’ for employees in a surrogate motherhood agreement.
Additionally, if there are two adoptive parents, one of the parents may apply for parental leave and the other adoption leave. If there are two commissioning parents (i.e host or surrogate parents), one of the parents may apply for parental leave and the other parent may apply for commissioning parental leave.
The proposed amendments are still in the form of a bill, before being promulgated. It is worth keeping in touch with developments regarding these proposed changes to the Labour Law amendment Bill. This is because the Bill seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave as well as the payment of these from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Many people could benefit from these amendments on becoming parents. SAIA members, running practices, are encouraged to be aware of these possible changes, to update their policies as required and to ensure that they can handle capacity constraints should a member of staff or even a fellow principle need to take the desired leave.