Daddy’s Delight as Paternity is now reality in SA

Paternity leave is something all fathers have wanted for many years. While paid maternity leave for new mothers has been around for a long time and fathers have been left out. If new fathers have taken leave in the past it was either as part of annual leave or unpaid. As of the 1st January 2020 everything changes, and the announcement of paid paternity leave is a major step forward in South Africa. Cosatu has described it as an “historic and long fought for victory for workers, parents, children and families across South Africa”.

Now an act of Parliament, all parents will be entitled to leave 10 days’ parental leave following the birth a child once in every calendar year. It is law and all employers must adhere to the legislation. While the full effect of the changes in law may only be fully enforced from the middle of 2020 there are, nonetheless, several questions surrounding it. These include:

1. Who pays for the leave?

This is the number one question asked by employers. The new paternity leave is paid out of UIF and is at present 66% of wage. It is not the responsibility of the employer however many employers are expected to contribute the 34% balance of a full wage as a gesture of goodwill but there is no law forcing this.

2. When must the leave be taken?

Leave is recommended to begin as soon as the child is born. There is, however, scope to negotiate with an employer according to circumstances or even preference.

3. Does Family Responsibility still apply?

Yes. The 3 days Family responsibility leave is separate from parental leave and cannot be used when a child is born. Family responsibility can only be used when a child is sick or passes away.

4. Employer Responsibility

As with all changes in labor related legislation it is the responsibility of the employer to undertake the necessary changes to ensure compliance. Modifications to leave and leave management as well as amending or updating employment contracts are required. The changes are not complicated but are necessary in terms of the law.

HRSimplified and Paternity Leave

HRSimplified makes compliance with the new Parental leave rules straightforward. The system allows users to enter and update the necessary information in just a few simple clicks in no time at all. Updates can be broadcast to employees quickly and new rules are implemented effortlessly.

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