Paternity leave for one night stands?

2016-04-20 13:02


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Cape Town – A Private Members Bill calling for paternity leave for new fathers has been presented in Parliament - but it has raised a couple of dilemmas.

For example, what if a man fathered children with several women or the baby is the result of a one night stand? Also, what to do if the father does not use the time to bond with the baby?

The bill was presented to Parliament’s Labour Committee by African Christian Democratic Party’s Cheryllyn Dudley on Wednesday.

The bill seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave, the party said.

And although the party was against same-sex couples adopting children, they did understand that it was the law and that the bill would not discriminate against anyone, Dudley explained after a question from DA MP Ian Ollis.

The bill also provides for the payment of parental benefits, as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

The ACDP felt paternity leave would allow for fathers to bond with their children at an early stage.

MPs questioned the cost implications of such a bill, and if the party had done a proper assessment.

One night stands

DA MP Michael Bagraim wanted to know if this would apply to men who fathered children with different women.

"Paternity is a particular problem. Will there be a cut-off as to how many times one can apply for paternity leave? And would it apply to one night stands? We know men do father kids from one night stands," he said.

He questioned if the bill might be open to abuse, especially as the fathers would be able to claim from UIF.

Dudley said they envisioned that fathers would only be able to apply for benefits once a year.

She said if a mother complained that the father was not actually bonding with the child during the leave, it would be revoked.

Committee chairperson Lumka Yengeni thanked Dudley for her presentation and said the committee would take the process forward.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2016

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