Dads can claim paternity leave from UIF as of January 2019

Claims can be made through the UIF

28 November 2018 - 10:14 By Iavan Pijoos
Working fathers are to be granted paid time off to bond with their newborns.
Working fathers are to be granted paid time off to bond with their newborns.
Image: iStock / AleksandarNakic

Allowing working dads 10 days of paternity leave will be beneficial for companies, the African Christian Democratic Party said on Wednesday, as it encouraged bosses to back the new law.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Labour Law Amendment Bill into law on Friday last week. Henri Terblanche was the originator of the act. Terblanche petitioned parliament with the proposal for parental leave, but the ACDP then tabled a private member's bill, relying largely on Terblanche's petition, to help drive through the legal processes.

Parental leave will be paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

"Our call is on companies to do this because it is good for their companies. What is good for their staff is good for their company," ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said.

Dudley said the law would be implemented from January 1, 2019.

She said it would be the responsibility of the human resources departments at companies to implement the law.

"It is actually workers' money, that is why it is sitting in UIF. It is nothing extra out of anyone's pocket so nobody has to panic. This has taken five years and took a lot of patience, but it is done," Dudley said.

She said despite the law only being effective from January 1, some companies had already started implementing it.

"Our person in our media department had their first baby and we actually gave him 10 days that weekend. That was six months ago. There is nothing stopping any company to do the right thing," she said.

Parliament's portfolio committee on labour this week welcomed the signing into law of the Labour Laws Amendment Bill.

"The committee is confident that the bill responds adequately to the current and changing socio-economic conditions that are prevalent in the country," chairperson of the committee Lemias Mashile said in a statement.

Mashile said the committee believed that the amendments were necessary to improve bonding between parents and children.

"The committee remains of the view that the amendments are broad and their gender neutrality will play a leading role in advancing equality.

"The committee encourages parents to take full advantage of the new law to the benefit of individuals and families."