Proposed amendments to the BCEA for paternity leave
Author: Imraan Mahomed - Practice Area Lead, Employment/Labour Law
A Bill was published in November 2015 proposing to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 and the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, to afford employees who are parents (regardless of sex) parental, adoption and surrogacy leave as well as UIF benefits.
We know that the BCEA does not make provision for male employees to take paternity leave. Male employees can rely upon their family responsibility days leave.
It would appear that the Bill takes its cue from the 2015 decision of the Labour Court in MIA v State Information Technology Agency SOC Ltd, which proposed that it was time for the legislature to consider revising the limited scope of the BCEA and its maternity leave provisions.
Time will tell whether the BCEA will actually be amended to provide for statutory "paternity leave". At present, "paternity leave" is generally regulated in employment policies.
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