Cosatu hails 'historic victory' as paid paternity leave kicks in on January 1

Fathers of newborn children (and mothers of children born through surrogacy) will be entitled to 10 days’ paid parental leave from Wednesday.
Fathers of newborn children (and mothers of children born through surrogacy) will be entitled to 10 days’ paid parental leave from Wednesday.
Image: 123RF/Noriko Cooper

The law providing for paid parental leave for both parents of newborn children, which takes effect on Wednesday, has been welcomed by trade union federation Cosatu.

From January 1 2020 all parents will now be entitled to 10 days’ paid parental leave when their children are born.

This does not apply to mothers who have given birth, because they are already entitled to paid maternity leave. It covers fathers of newborn children and mothers of children born through surrogacy.

Parents will be entitled to take paid parental leave once a calendar year and will be required to apply for leave from their employer, reports BusinessLIVE.

“This is a historic and long-fought-for victory for workers, parents, children and families across SA,” said Cosatu parliamentary co-ordinator Matthew Parks on Monday.

“This is now an act of parliament, assented to by the president and promulgated. It is not a matter of negotiations or concessions by employers. It is law.

“Employers are asked to embrace the progressive spirit of the law. Those who seek to behave like rogue neanderthals will be treated accordingly - named and shamed, taken to the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] and labour courts - and forced to abandon their backwardness.”

Parks explained that in terms of the law, workers will be entitled to claim payments from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) should their employers refuse to pay them their full salary for the leave period. The UIF will pay those workers 66% of their salary - up to an earnings cap of R205,433.30 a year, as laid down in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

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