What are the current laws that apply to men regarding maternity leave?
In terms of section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, a man can currently take three days’ family responsibility leave with the birth of his child. Current legislation doesn’t provide for paternity leave, but a father is entitled to take paid family responsibility leave after the birth of his child – provided he has been working longer than four months and at least four days per week at his employer.
If a father already used his three days at the time his child is born, he won’t have any family responsibility leave left should the new-born baby become sick for example. Further, the father also has no leave left for the purpose of family responsibility.
In November 2017 the National Assembly accepted the Amendment Act on Labour Legislation and this holds benefits/changes for fathers and adoption parents when it comes to maternity leave. This Amendment Act make provision for unpaid paternity leave of ten weekdays for men.
This law will only apply to men that are registered as the new-born’s father, adoption parents or surrogate parents. It seems as though this Amendment Act will still come into effect this year. The Amendment Act is already promulgated, but must still be ratified. This means, the President has already approved the Act, but haven’t given a date on which the Act will come into effect. In cases where the employer allows unpaid leave, the employee will be entitled to claim a part of his daily salary from the unemployment insurance fund.
It seems as though there is a big shortcoming in our legislation when it comes to paternity leave and the need for it. When the Amendment Act comes into effect, strict regulation would have to be implemented to prevent this benefit from being exploited because the exploitation of this Act, will have a negative effect on the economy.
Author: Hannes de Kock