A new bill on paternity leave, which was adopted by parliament last week, will allow fathers to experience the first few important days of their newborns’ lives – while getting paid.
The labour laws amendment bill, the first private members' bill to be adopted by the house, was introduced by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley.
“It’s a sign that we can work together with the ruling ANC although they are always sceptical of the opposition. It’s an exciting moment. They must be delighted too. It showed that not all the oppositions are up to mischievous acts.
“I’m delighted, it’s something that will strengthen the families, the fathers will be confident that the importance of their roles in their children’s lives is recognised because they have sacrificed their roles as it’s become a norm for them to be absent or away from their children’s lives from an early age,” Dudley said.
She added that fathers play important roles in the upbringing of their children, and the research done by the ACPD gave them an indication that provisions contained in this bill would facilitate early bonding between fathers and children.
“Stronger and healthier families would be some of the benefits for society as a whole, including business, labour, government and employers at large,” Dudley said.
According to the bill, an employee who is a parent and not entitled to maternity leave is now entitled to 10 consecutive days of parental leave when that employee’s child is born or when an adoption order is granted. Dudley said her initial concerns were the fathers who were denied their rights to bond with the children from birth. But during the bill’s four-year deliberation in parliament, the question of adoptive parents was raised and included.
“Now an adoptive parent of a child who is younger than two years is entitled to adoption leave of two months and two weeks consecutively. If there are two adoptive parents, one of the employees is entitled to adoption leave and the other employee is entitled to parental leave,” Dudley said.
Furthermore an employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement is entitled to commissioning parental leave of two months and two weeks consecutively.
If there are two commissioning parents, one of the employees is entitled to commissioning parental leave and the other employee is entitled to parental leave.
With fathers given more role in their children’s upbringing how do THE DRUM readers feel about the bill?