Trade union Cosatu has welcomed the implementation of paid parental leave for parents of newborn children, saying that this was a historic and long-fought for victory for workers, parents, children and families across South Africa.
Cosatu said that all parents are now entitled to 10 days paid parental leave when their children are born, although this did not apply to mothers who have given birth as they were already entitled to paid maternity leave.
“In essence, this covers fathers of newborn children, in addition to mothers of children born through surrogacy. It will also cover one parent who adopts a child who is two years or younger whilst the other parent in that adoptive couple will be entitled to 10 weeks paid adoption leave.
"Parents are entitled to take paid parental leave once a calendar year. They will be required to apply for leave from their employer,” Matthews Parks, Cosatu Parliamentary Coordinator, said.
He said that workers were entitled to claim Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) payments if their employer will not pay them their full salary.
Parks added the UIF will pay those workers 66% of their salary up to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act earnings cap of R205 433.30 per annum.
“Workers applying for UIF payments must fill in the required form at the UIF, provide their ID, bank details and their child’s unabridged birth certificate which provides the details of the child’s parents.
“Cosatu is pleased that its efforts and workers’ hard-fought struggles have borne fruits with this achievement. We encourage all eligible parents to exercise this progressive right. Equally, it is important that parents use this leave for what it is intended for, namely, to help the mother recuperate from birth and to take care of their newborn child,” said Parks.
He further stated that this victory for workers had been delivered by the late chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour Fezeka Loliwe, former ACDP MP Cherryllyn Dudley and Hendri Terblanche.
“This was the first private member’s bill passed by Parliament. It showed the maturity of the political system that the ruling party and an opposition party could collaborate with Cosatu to see its passage.
“It showed the potential of the Constitution that allows for ordinary citizens to petition their legislature to amend laws,” said Parks.