Protection of paternity leave and related rights for employed fathers under the Labour Laws Amendment Act 10 of 2018
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South Africa’s employment history has very little written about employed fathers compared to records about working mothers. However, fathers have been out in the workplace, away from home, longer than mothers have. During the apartheid era, the migrant labour system forced fathers to work in areas far away from homes. They only visited their families once a year. The migrant labour system entrenched a perception that fathers are breadwinners while mothers look after the home and care for the children. The system forced fathers to put careers ahead of parental inclinations. When mothers began joining the workplace, policy makers quickly came up with leave entitlements like maternity leave. However, there is no paternity leave for fathers. It is argued that leave entitlements extended to fathers are inadequate. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act introduced the family responsibility leave that gave fathers a paltry three days off to care for their families. The Labour Laws Amendment Act repeals the family responsibility leave and provides parental leave. Parental leave extends leave days available to fathers from three to ten. Family responsibility leave and parental leave and their respective benefits are incomparable to those of maternity leave. Fathers and mothers are now present in the workplace, yet fathers are absent at home. Some families are dual-earners with a father and mother both employed and sharing economic contribution to the home. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Equity Act, and the two laws mentioned above seek to establish fair labour practices in South Africa. They promote equal pay for work of equal value, and equal opportunity for the same qualification for employed fathers and mothers. However, the researcher submits that there is reluctance in relation to equal leave entitlements for fathers and mothers so that they complement each other in meeting their parental obligations. The researcher argues that employed fathers in South Africa are a neglected group that does not have policy protection to care for their families while keeping their jobs.
- Law