Labour Laws Amendment Bill [PMB 5-2015]

Call for comments opened 19 July 2016 Share this page:

Submissions are now closed (since 12 August 2016)

Labour

The Portfolio Committee on Labour invites you to submit written comments on the Labour Laws Amendment Bill [PMB 5-2015].

The Bill seeks to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997, so as to:
• correct an obsolete reference to an Act;
• provide for parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave to employees;
• provide that a collective agreement may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave;
• amend the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, so as to provide for the right to claim parental and commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund;
• provide for the application for, and the payment of, parental and commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund;
• correct an obsolete reference to an Act;
• provide that the number of contributors to whom parental and commissioning parental benefits were paid and the amount of such payments be included in the written report from the Director-General to the Minister.

Comments can be emailed to Zolani Sakasa at zsakasa@parliament.gov.za by no later than Friday, 12 August 2016 at 16h00.

Enquiries can be directed to Zolani Sakasa on tel (021) 403 3735 or cell 083 709 8488

In addition to the written comments, please indicate your interest in making a verbal presentation to the Committee.

Issued by Ms LE Yengeni, MP, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour


Background
This Private Members Bill, ie the Labour Laws Amendment Bill (“the Bill”), was drafted in line with African Christian Democratic Party (“the ACDP”) policy on family values, the Green Paper on Family and as a result of appeals made to the ACDP by fathers who felt strongly that provision should be made in law for “paternity leave”. Fathers play an important role in the upbringing of their children. The ACDP is of the opinion that such a provision would facilitate early bonding between fathers and their children and that stronger and healthier families would be one of the many potential benefits for society as a whole. The Bill, which deals with parental leave and also provides for adoption and surrogacy leave, is drafted so as to ensure harmony with current legislation and to ensure the provisions contained in the Bill will pass constitutional muster. It is, however, important to note that the ACDP does not support, nor did it support, amendments to the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005) (“the Children’s Act”) which allowed for same-sex couples to adopt children. It is the view of the ACDP that for the Bill to accomplish its goals it must be applicable in the current legal situation. However, should the Children’s Act be amended in the future to exclude same-sex couples, this legislation would still be applicable. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997) (“the Basic Conditions of Employment Act”) provides that an employee may take four months maternity leave in respect of that employee’s child. This maternity leave is paid for by the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It further provides that an employee who is the father of the child may take three days family responsibility leave when that employee’s child is born. The family responsibility leave is paid for by the employer. Although an employee is entitled to adoption benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, there is no legal obligation on an employer to grant an adoptive parent adoption leave, as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act does not make provision for the granting of adoption leave. Currently, adoption leave is a matter for negotiation between individual employees and employers. This can be seen as a major obstacle in the way of encouraging adoption. The Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001 (Act No. 63 of 2001) (“the Unemployment Insurance Act”) provides for the payment of maternity and adoption benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Neither the Basic Conditions of Employment Act nor the Unemployment Insurance Act makes provision for the taking of leave nor the payment of benefits in a case where an employee has become a parent through a surrogate motherhood agreement referred to in the Children’s Act. The Bill seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. It also provides for the payment of parental benefits as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.