By Tiekie Mocke, Manager MISA’s Legal Department.
The additional parental leave has been included in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 makes provision for paternity leave, adoption leave and commissioning parent leave (when you have appointed a surrogate mother to bear your child).
Mandatory requirements for parental leave
You must be an employee.
You must be the parent (father) of a child; adoptive parent of a child below the age of two years or a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement. It is therefore imperative to note that it applies to the parent only.
You must be registered
The father of the child in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992. (You must be registered as the father of the child on the birth certificate.)
Recorded as a parent of a child below the age of two years in an adoptive order or a prospective adoptive parent of a child below two years, pending the finalisation of the adoption order.
The parent of the child born as a result of a surrogate motherhood agreement.
You must have been a contributing employee for at least 13 weeks before the date of application.
You must apply for the leave at least 30 days prior the expected birth date of the child, or the date of the adoption order, the date the child is placed in your care by a competent court pending the finalisation of the adoption order, or as soon as reasonably practicable.
A claim with the Unemployment Insurance Fund must be made within twelve months after the birth of the child, the date of the adoption order, the date the child is placed in your care by a competent court pending the finalisation of the adoption order, or as soon as reasonably practicable.
Parental leave benefits
Paternity Leave is available to the father of a child only and limited to ten consecutive days in a 12-month cycle. That is only once a year whereas adoption or commissioning parent leave is available to only one of the two parents and limited to ten consecutive weeks.
Important to note is that the days must be taken consecutively and therefore, all at once.
There is no liability on your employer to remunerate you during these ten days. Your basic salary lost during these days will be paid by the Unemployment Insurance Fund at the Department of Labour.
Compensation during these periods will be at only 66 percent of your basic salary up to the threshold of R17 712.
Some employers have policies in place whereby you as father or adoptive parent are entitled to be paid parental leave. The Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001, as amended, provides that the remuneration received during this period, may not exceed your normal remuneration you would have received if you did not take parental leave.
Claiming the parental benefit
The following forms can be used to claim the parental benefit:
UI-19 – Declaration of information of commercial employees and workers employed in the private household
UI 2.7 – Remuneration received by the employer whilst in employment
UI2.8 – Authorisation to pay benefits into banking account
UI2.9 – Application for parental benefits
UI2.9P – Application for parental benefits in terms of Regulation 6 (3)
The following forms must accompany the claim
Identity document of the applicant.
Birth certificate of the child with full details of parents and details of a valid bank account.
The benefit is yours and it is law!