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Paternity leave 101: Everything you need to know about this confusing topic

by , 10 April 2014
Paternity leave is one of the most misunderstood topics in labour law. Some people refer to it as 'parental leave for fathers', 'parental leave entitlement', 'men's maternity leave'. What's more...There's even a dispute about whether men are entitled to take leave when they become fathers and how long they should take their paternity leave. Read on to find out the answer so you can comply with labour law.


Can my employee resign when she's on maternity leave?

If your employee is on maternity leave, I'm willing to bet you've wondered if she'll even come back after tasting how great life is spending time at home with her beloved newborn.

But this can be a stressful time for you...

After all, not only do you need to look for a temp to fill your employee's role, you'll probably have to do piles of research trying to find answers to your maternity leave questions.

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What is paternity leave?

Paternity leave is leave granted by a company to an employee when he becomes a father.

Greeff Attorneys explains that despite South Africa's advanced labour legislation, there's no specific provision that deals with paternity leave.

So does this mean male employees in your workplace aren't entitled to leave when their children are born?

Not quite....


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He's been with you for five years now and you have a very good working relationship. He understands your long-tem vision for the company and helps you develop the strategy to achieve it. He's a big part of your long-term plan.

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Here's what you need to know about paternity leave entitlement

In this article, experts from the Labour & HR Club explained that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act includes a provision for family responsibility leave in Section 27. It explains that this section states an employee is entitled to family responsibility leave when his or her child is born.

This means a father is entitled to family responsibility leave when he becomes a father (his child is born).

What's the duration for paternity leave?

As you know, you're required to grant your employee three days of family responsibility leave per 12 month leave cycle.

This means your employee can take family responsibility leave for a whole day or part of a day when his child is born.

Greeff Attorneys says if a father (biological and adoptive) chooses to take his three days paid leave at the time his child is born, he cancels any further paid family leave for that year.

The best thing you can do to avoid confusion regarding paternity leave is to include an additional category of leave in your company's leave policy. You can then include paternity leave in this category. You must then explain how you'll grant paternity leave in your company so your employees know what's allowed and what isn't.

Now that you know about the duration for paternity leave, make sure you comply with labour law.

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