Regulations on the leave entitlement of adoptive parents, commissioning parents in surrogacy arrangements, and the fathers of new born babies are still a work in progress, according to a Department of Labour media statement, notes Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch. However, Unemployment Insurance Fund commissioner Teboho Maruping believes they should be ‘ready … by September’ – along with the upgraded systems necessary to accept applications and process payments. Only then are sections 7, 8, 12, 13, 15 and 16 of the 2018 Labour Laws Amendment Act likely to be promulgated – operationalising the required changes to the 2001 Unemployment Insurance Act and 2005 Children’s Act. Expected to contribute to ‘stronger family ties’, once in force the new statute and its regulations will – among other things – enable men to play a greater role in the process of introducing children into their families and bonding with them (IoL) during a longer period of paid family responsibility leave.
However, only one parent will be entitled to the 10 weeks’ adoption or commissioning parental leave provided for in the Act. The other will have 10 days’ parental leave at his/her disposal. Also amending the 1997 Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the new piece of legislation precludes a collective bargaining agreement from reducing an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave. This is noting that, according to Maruping, ‘the payment of parental benefits … will be … subject to credit days accumulated and (the) 66% flat rate applicable’. He was presumably referring to section 8 of the amendment Act, providing that ‘parental benefits must be paid at a rate of 66% of the earnings of the beneficiary at the date of application, subject to the maximum income threshold’.