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Should you give new fathers paternity leave? Here's what the BCEA says

by , 31 December 2014
You know you must give new mothers four months' maternity leave.

What about new fathers? Hardly anyone talks about their options.

Do you know how much paternity leave to give them?

Is it even a legal requirement to give them this leave?

Read on and I'll tell you exactly what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) says so you know what to do next time one of your male employees asks for time off to take care of his newborn.


The BCEA has this to say about paternity leave

 
In South Africa, there's no law that provides for new fathers to take paternity leave, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
 
But, the BCEA has a provision for family responsibility leave.
 
Section 27 of the BCEA says an employee can take family responsibility leave when his or her child is born. This means a new father is entitled to three day's family responsibility leave when his child is born.
 
He can take family responsibly leave for the whole day or a portion of that day when his child is born. If he decides he wants to take all three days to care for his new born, he cancels any further paid family responsibility leave for that year.

 
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The realty is paternity leave in South Africa is a confusing and controversial topic

 
In fact, some people call paternity leave 'parental leave for fathers', 'parental leave entitlement' or 'men's maternity leave'. So it's not surprising that employers don't know how to deal with it.
 
Not only is paternity leave confusing, it's controversial.
 
There's a petition before the chairwoman of the National Council of Provinces. The petition by a Cape Town man, Hendri Terblanche is calling for makers to make it possible for the BCEA to provide 10 days' paternity leave.
 

As it stands, it's clear that South Africa isn't progressive enough when it comes to paternity leave

 
According to iAfrica, in Sweden, parents get 480 days of paid parental leave for each child. Each parent gets 60 days' leave and parents can split up the remaining days as they wish. They also get an additional 90 days in the case of multiple births or if there are complications.
 
In Kenya, men get 14 days' paid paternity leave. And most European countries allow for one to two weeks' paid paternity leave.
 
As voices grow about the need for labour laws to accommodate men as well, we'll keep you up-to-date with any new developments about paternity leave in South Africa.
 
In the meantime, stick to what the BCEA says.


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