Labour Laws Amendment Bill [B 29–2017]

Call for comments opened 05 June 2018 Share this page:

Submissions are now closed (since 08 June 2018)

NCOP Economic and Business Development

The Select Committee on Economic and Business Development invites you to submit their written submissions on the Labour Laws Amendment Bill [B 29–2017].

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill [B 29–2017] seeks to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997, so as to:
▪ insert new definitions; 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;
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 Ms Noziphiwo Dinizulu at ndinizulu@parliament.gov.za by no later than Friday, 8 June 2018

Enquiries can be directed to Ms Noziphiwo Dinizulu on tel (021) 403 3779 or cell 083 709 8393

Stakeholders interested in making oral submissions are also requested to make a written request or contact our office by not later than Friday, 8 June 2018.

All correspondence should be addressed to Mr Mandla Isaac Rayi: Chairperson of the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development and marked for the attention of Ms Noziphiwo Dinizulu

Issued by: Mr Mandla Isaac Rayi, MP Chairperson of the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development.


Background
This Private Member’s 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. The Portfolio Committee on Labour redrafted the Bill and made amendments that enables a prospective adoptive parent to access the adoption leave and adoption benefits, which are paid out by the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It also amended the Bill to align it with the amendments contained in the recently passed Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill [25D-2015].