New Leave Entitlements For Employees

Until recently, fathers and adoptive parents were largely prejudiced by labour laws which did not provide them with any rights of leave on the birth or adoption of their child. The same is true for those who entered into surrogacy motherhood agreements.  At the most, these parents could make use of the 3 days family responsibility leave provided for in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The Labour Laws Amendment Act 10 of 2018, which came into effect on 1 January 2020, overcomes this prejudice by introducing three new leave entitlements for employees:

1. Parental Leave

An employee who is the parent of a child is entitled to 10 consecutive days of unpaid parental leave.  This leave can be taken from the day on which the child is born, or on the date on which an adoption order is granted or on the date the child is placed in the care of the prospective adoptive parent (if the adoption is still pending).

2. Adoption Leave

A parent who adopts a child under the age of 2, will be entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of unpaid adoption leave.  This leave can be taken from the date on which the adoption order is granted, or on the date that the child is placed in the care of the prospective adoptive parent/s pending finalisation of the adoption.  Where an adoption order or a prospective adoption order is pending in respect of two parents, then the one parent would be entitled to the 10 weeks adoption leave and the other parent would be entitled to the 10 days parental leave.

3. Commissioning Parental Leave

An employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement is entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of unpaid commissioning parental leave.  In instances where the surrogate motherhood agreement has two commissioning parents, one parent would be entitled to the 10 consecutive weeks commissioning parental leave and the other parent the 10 consecutive days parental leave.

Please note that these three new leave entitlements are all unpaid in terms of legislation.

To ensure that your employment contracts and leave policies are in order, alternatively, if you feel that your employer has treated you unfairly regarding your leave entitlements, please contact Claire Delport.