Table of Contents

South African High Court to Redefine Family Leave

The High Court of South Africa has declared the current family laws unconstitutional. This is a historical landmark, related specifically to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA).

The Court has found fault with the existing legislation, citing discrimination in maternity and paternity leave provisions.

Current Family Law in South Africa

Under the current laws, mothers enjoy four months of maternity leave with paid benefits, while fathers receive only ten days of paid paternity leave.

Adoptive and surrogate mothers are granted ten weeks of leave with benefits, limited to just one parent. This policy has been deemed unconstitutional by the court, prompting a call for a more balanced approach to family leave.

The Shift to Equality in Family Roles

The High Court emphasised that gender roles should not dictate parenting responsibilities. Recognising the vital role both parents play in childcare, the court ruled for a shared responsibility, declaring four months of unpaid parental leave for all parents, irrespective of gender or family structure.

This decision is pending confirmation by the Constitutional Court. If upheld, companies across South Africa will be required to reevaluate and adjust family leave policies. The potential shift towards equal and shared parental leave marks a progressive step in acknowledging the evolving dynamics of modern families and advancing gender equality in the workplace.

This legal development challenges existing norms in the workplace, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment that recognises and values diverse parenting responsibilities.

If you would like to receive information and/or assistance with legal matters and family law, please contact us.

Share on socials