Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

THE more generous parental and adoption leave that the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has proposed in a private member’s bill, has been hailed by union federation Cosatu as "correct and progressive".

The provisions are contained in a draft Labour Laws Amendment Bill proposed by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley, which is being subjected to public hearings by Parliament’s labour committee on Thursday.

The bill proposes to give fathers 10 days’ paid paternity leave on the birth of a child, improving the three days fathers are currently allowed each year to take care of family responsibilities.

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One day a year should be allowed to take care of the elderly, and adopting parents should have three months’ paid leave in the case of one parent and 10 days for the other. There is no provision in law for adoption leave, currently.

The ACDP has suggested the Unemployment Insurance Act could be amended to cater for these paternity benefits.

Cosatu parliamentary liaison officer Matthew Parks said Cosatu was talking to the Department of Labour about the bill’s proposals, at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Cosatu has noted that the three days given to fathers were "quickly exhausted as it also covers illnesses and deaths of family members. This (the 10 days provided for) must be separate from the three days’ family responsibility leave, and from maternity leave."

Parks noted that Australia and Kenya offered 14 paid days.

Cosatu argued that the proposal for adoption leave should be amended to the same 4-6 months allowed for maternity leave, with the parents subdividing this leave between them. The provision should apply to all adopted children and not only those under the age of two years, as proposed in the bill.

"We believe this will lay the foundation for a healthier adopted child and stronger family," Parks said.

Sonke Gender Justice and the Mosaic Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women proposed that parental leave be six consecutive months for each parent in addition to 10 days each as perinatal leave. For adoption each parent should have six months’ leave as well as perinatal leave.

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