SGJ: Men should get 10 days' paternity leave

2014-07-18 07:01

Johannesburg - Men should be provided with 10 days' paternity leave, non-profit organisation Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) said on Thursday.

The non-profit organisation came out in support of financial manager Hendri Terblanche launching the 10-day paternity leave campaign, eight months after his twin children were born three months premature.

His petition was submitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), and officially received and acknowledged by NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise two weeks ago.

Section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act only provided for three days of family responsibility leave for employees.

The Unemployment Insurance Act protected mothers from losing their salary for up to four months at the time their child’s birth.

Terblanche’s petition proposed an additional 10 days paternity leave for fathers.

SGJ said having only three days of family responsibility leave and no paternity leave restricted fathers from spending time with their children in their first days of life.

It also restricted them from forming a bond with their newborns, supporting their partners, and assisting with childcare duties.

This was even more challenging where medical complications occurred, including Caesarean births, common in South Africa with the mother and child often in hospital for up to a week and sometimes longer.

"Terblanche single-handedly approached every member of Parliament and urged them to draft a bill for consideration by the National Assembly," SGJ said.

He also mounted a Twitter campaign under @DadToBeAdvice using the hashtag #10DaysPaternityLeave.

"The department of labour and the department of social development are mandated in the White Paper on Families in South Africa (2013) to explore the feasibility of paternity leave," SGJ said.

SGJ mencare manager in South Africa Andre Lewaks said men were held accountable for parenting responsibilities or child support when parents were separated.

It was therefore important to create more opportunities for men to be involved in care work.

"Paternity leave is one step towards this that is still lacking in our leave framework," he said.

SGJ said South Africa would not be the first country in Africa to establish paternity leave, as Kenya already offered fathers 14 days, Cameroon 10 days, and Ghana five days.

  • Jackie van der Merwe - 2014-07-18 07:29

    Please tog

      Koos Luerre - 2014-07-18 07:55

      We don't have a problem with breeding and a shortage of babies. We have a massive problem with creating jobs and saving jobs. And this extra 10 days paid leave burden on employers is yet another disincentive to create and save employment.

  • Malefetsane Motloung - 2014-07-18 07:37

    just do it pls!

  • Janette Marais - 2014-07-18 07:38

    The problem is that the leave will be abused and the poor mom will still be doing it all. We get 5 days family leave and not once has leave been taken when a baby is born so that the father can bond.

  • Str4f3 - 2014-07-18 07:44

    As another father of premature twins.. this is needed.

  • Lefu Jacob - 2014-07-18 07:48

    pls do it as i have to wait for three days cauze of work commitment while my wowan was give birth throurgh operation, an idiot manager refuse to let me go and gv g support to my woman.

  • Toni-Leigh Luzzi - 2014-07-18 07:54

    Absolutely. Fathers need these time off to be with their families. Its such an emotional time & should be joyful not stressful. I think 10 days isn't enough but it's a start. Fathers are important too. It was invaluable to me to have my husband with me when our daughter was born.

  • Wilhelm Jones - 2014-07-18 07:56

    As a dad of a 26 week micro prem, I agree fully. This is needed, a month would be better but maybe pushing it.

  • Quozimodo Magandercope - 2014-07-18 08:11

    In the interests of gender equality alone, woman get up to 4 months maternity leave, men should get the same. Especially in a world where men are expected to and are, sharing the joy of raising their children. Fight for woman's rights, but don't forget that men have rights too.

  • Stephan Coetzee - 2014-07-18 08:11

    Its not like it used to a father I did everything my wife did. Same amount of sleep same amount of feedings and dauper drill. Have a twin boy and girl. Was hard on her when I had to go back to work.

      Drexlar Nanotek Mutant - 2014-07-18 09:11

      And that is so true, besides there's an additional driving to the clinics, doctors, pharmacies, shops and assistance for house chores, you can't do that while you are at work. The employment policies need to change, and Fathers need a slack!

  • Daveu - 2014-07-18 08:15

    As long as it's not for gay couples

  • Mbali Khumalo - 2014-07-18 08:18

    It's a great initiative and I am fully in support of it. In this country however it is going to be susceptible to a lot of abuse. I wonder if employers are ready for it. All these men going around having kids but different women ( and abandoning them) are gonna have a field day. Up to 3-4 kids born to different women in the same year. That 40 days of paternity leave. Lol, all the best.

  • J.d. Janse van Rensburg - 2014-07-18 08:38

    People should be compensated for not over populating SA and grants should be for the first child only. To many lazy mothers out there.

  • J.d. Janse van Rensburg - 2014-07-18 08:39

    People should be compensated for not over populating SA and grants should be for the first child only. To many lazy mothers out there.

  • Deon Botha - 2014-07-18 08:39

    As if small business does not suffer enough.

  • wikus.erasmus.545 - 2014-07-18 08:57

    A good stride towards gender equality! I took normal leave for that period but an additional 10 days would have been greatly appreciated.

  • Mohau Chabeli - 2014-07-18 08:59

    Phambili ngamalungelo abotata, phambili!

  • Drexlar Nanotek Mutant - 2014-07-18 09:01

    10 days is still not enough, new fathers need a min of 14 days and max of 30 days, depending on the circumstances and needs of the new mother/born. Fathers are discriminated against already in custody cases and maintainence charges. We are not only good for financial support, but for all other dimensions of the child's well-being and development. Laws need to change!

  • anke.engelke.35 - 2014-07-18 12:33

    SA seems to be behind the moon. Look at Sweden and many other countries.

  • kim.a.smit - 2014-07-18 14:56

    I really do agree with this. Having a baby is a big thing in a couples life, both Dad and Mom need to firstly adjust and secondly connect with their newborn. I do however also think SA needs to rethink all the C-section births and encourage more natural births as the recovery time is usually faster & mothers don't have to be in hospital for such a long time.

  • Daveu - 2014-07-18 16:59

    Go live there then

  • Jacques H. Kirchner - 2014-07-18 18:34

    The non-educated, logically adept SA fathers, is going to love this....I have 3 planned kids. Fortunately all healthty and born in private hospitals. In all 3 cases I took only 1 of the 3 days available to me. I knew that my job is almost as important as my family...commitment is a fine art when you are trying to spead it but it IS possible. Imagine how many days the prez would have scored with his kiddy tally...:)

  • Garrick Dunstan - 2014-07-18 20:50

    I was fortunate in that I was self employed so got to take as many days as I could afford in my sole discretion

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