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Here's what you NEED to know about compassionate leave

by , 06 December 2013
Quite often situations arise in your workplace where your employees will request compassionate leave because someone in their family has died. This may be the case with some of former President Nelson Mandela's family members. The former president and world icon died last night at the age of 95. He had been battling a recurring lung infection. If your employees family undergoes a similar loss, read on to find out what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) says about compassionate leave.

In terms of the BCEA, your employee is entitled to compassionate leave.

How much compassionate leave is your employee allowed?

You're required to grant your employee three days of family responsibility leave per 12 month leave cycle.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says this is only applicable to employees who:

  1. Have been employed by you for longer than four months; and
  2. Who work for you on at least four days of the week.

You must grant this leave in these circumstances:

  • When your employee's child is born
  • When your employee's child is sick
  • In the event of the death of your employee's spouse or life partner, your employee's parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling.

Can you ask your employee for proof?

According to Simple Pay, you're allowed to ask for reasonable proof before paying compassionate leave. For example, you may ask for a death certificate.

The site adds that compassionate leave doesn't carry over to the next 12 month cycle. And employees may take part of a day off instead of the whole day.

Keep in mind that a collective agreement or contract of employment may vary the number of days and the circumstances under which you may grant responsibility leave to your employee.

Consequently, you may for example, agree that your employee is entitled to five days' family responsibility leave per annum.
Knowing when to grant compassionate leave will help ensure you comply with the BCEA and manage leave effectively.

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