SA fathers look likely to get extended paternity leave

Parliament has cleared the way for South African fathers to receive extended parental benefits after approving proposed changes to the Labour Laws Amendment Bill

The Bill, which was proposed by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley, was officially adopted by Parliament on Tuesday and is the first private member’s bill to be passed in the National Assembly.

It seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. It also provides for the payment of parental benefits, as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

READ MORE: Will SA fathers finally have the right to more paternity leave?

Under the newly adopted amendments, fathers will be entitled to 10 days’ paternity leave, a week more than the three days (family responsibility) to which they are currently eligible.

Fathers of adopted children under the age of two will be eligible for 10 weeks’ paternity leave.

The amendments better align the country’s labour laws with a growing body of scientific research that has found that a baby thrives when the father is involved in their care and upbringing as newborns.

“Fathers play an important role in the upbringing of their children. Having done some research on this issue, the ACDP is of the opinion that such a provision would facilitate early bonding between fathers and their children and that stronger and healthier families would be one of the many potential benefits for society as a whole,” ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said.

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“In a country where fathers have historically been separated from their families and survival necessitated an acceptance of not being able to bond and be hands-on in their day-to-day upbringing, initiatives that facilitate the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives are welcomed and encouraged by the ACDP.”