top of page

Paternity leave in South Africa

Paternity leave regulations were signed into law in the Labour Laws Amendment Act in November 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He officially amended the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) to include the new regulations.

According to the Department of Labour, soon thereafter the president will sign the new provisions. The commencement date is estimated for 4 November 2019.

Old rules versus new amendment:

In its current state, the BCEA offers four months of maternity leave, paid for by the UIF. Fathers are allowed three days of family responsibility leave when a child is born, this is paid for by the employer.

The new bill is said to allow fathers to take ten days leave, paid for by the UIF. Fathers who have adopted children under the age of two will receive ten weeks paid leave if they are going to be the primary caregiver.

Who pays?
Paternity leave will be paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), it will not be the employer’s responsibility.

How much?
Employees will be given a partial payout. It can be up to 66% of the father's salary.

Can dads bargain?
Employees can negotiate some kind of co-payment with their employer to pay the balance of their salary and establish a work back contract for when they return to work.

When must the leave be taken?
The leave may commence when the child is born. Bezuidenhout says the Act provides the scope for fathers to negotiate with their employers.

What happens to family responsibility leave?
The three days of family responsibility leave will still exist and remains separate from parental leave. However, it cannot be used when a child is born. It can be used in cases when a child falls sick or passes away.

What must employers do?
Employers need to amend their employment contracts to make them compliant with this new law. Leave application forms should be amended to provide for the new types of leave. Fathers are required to notify the employer in writing, of the date on which they plan to start parental leave. The parent also needs to state when they will return to work after the leave. Where existing contracts of employment contain contractual entitlements giving rise to paid family responsibility leave following the birth of a child, that should be addressed as a matter of priority in order to avoid any misunderstanding in relation to what, when and how much employees can claim

Click here to read:
After men in Spain got paternity leave, they wanted fewer kids

bottom of page