On 18 December 2019, the President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the effective date of 1 January 2020 for sections 1 to 7 of the Labour Laws Amendment Act of 2018. This effectively amends the Basic Conditions of Employment Act to provide for parental leave.
As from 1 January 2020 the three days family responsibility leave that employees were entitled to upon the birth of a child, was replaced with parental leave as per the Labour Laws Amendment Act of 2018. The remainder of section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Family Responsibility Leave) remains intact, entitling employees to three days family responsibility leave when a child (younger than 18 years of age) is sick or alternatively upon the death of a family member as listed in the Act.
In terms of the Labour Laws Amendment Act an employee now has three new leave entitlements, namely parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave.
How long are the leave periods?
- Parental leave: An employee, who is a parent of a child, is entitled to 10 consecutive days’, unpaid, parental leave. Parental 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 such day that the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents, pending the finalisation of the adoption order;
- Adoption leave: An employee who is an adoptive parent of a child who is below the age of two years is entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of adoption leave. Adoption leave can be taken from the date on which an adoption order is granted or on such day that the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents, pending the finalisation of the adoption order, and constitutes a form of parental leave and is therefore not in addition to parental leave, mentioned above. In cases where an adoption order is made or a prospective adoption order is pending in respect of two parents, one parent is entitled to take adoption leave and the other parent will be entitled to take parental leave;
- Commissioning parental leave: An employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement is entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of commissioning parental leave. Commissioning parental leave can be taken from the date on which the child is born. In cases where a surrogate motherhood agreement has two commissioning parents, one of the commissioning parents may apply for commissioning parental leave and the other may apply for parental leave.
Based on the aforementioned it is evident that both male and female employees may qualify for parental leave depending the circumstances. However, if the employee gave birth to the child, she will not qualify for parental leave. Such employee is entitled to unpaid maternity leave.
It is important to note that all the above mentioned leave will be unpaid, and employees will therefore have to submit claims to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to qualify for payment during the periods of absence from work.
It is also important to note that whilst these amendments are not currently contained in Motor Industry Main Agreement, the agreement specificaly states that when amendements are made to the BCEA, the agreement must be amended accordingly. These amendments will be made in due course.
Therefore these new leave provisons will be applicable to our industry and must be implented by employers.
If members have any questions in this regard, they should contact their nearest RMI Regional Office and consult with one of our highly trained IR Specialists.