Paternity leave benefits don't apply to SANDF employees

Exciting news for brand new dads and adoptive parents.
Exciting news for brand new dads and adoptive parents.

On 1 November 2019 the new paternity leave amendments came into effect.

They provide for employees that are parents to have either access to ten days of parental leave when a child is born, adopted or where commissioning parental arrangements apply, or up to ten parental weeks leave.

This isn't as straight forward as it seems, and has left some readers confused.

This mom wrote to us with a specific question, so we asked the legal professionals at LAW FOR ALL to comment.

"I’m working for the SA Army. Our Human Resource department told us that we are semi state department and that the guys don't qualify.
When we put in the paternity leave its 3 days and 5 days family responsibility leave .
I don’t know if it's right or wrong. Can you please help?
I want to know why don’t we qualify for 10 days."   

These entities have their own policies

Tom Smith, a labour law expert at LAW FOR ALL, responded with this information:

"In November 2018, our President signed the Labour Laws Amendment Act into law, changing the employment laws to include 10 days paternity leave.

This means that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act now allows fathers to take 10 days off from work when their child is born. It was first rumoured that the new law would have been implemented at the start of 2019. Still, the law's implementation was delayed to allow the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to prepare for leave benefit claims from as dads.

When we take a closer look at the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (specifically Section 3), we see that it doesn't apply to the SANDF, National Intelligence Agency or the Secret Service.

These entities have their own policies around leave benefits which are regulated separately from private-sector employees.

So in short, it would seem that your HR department has given you the right advice.

Hopefully, increased benefits will be extended to employees of these entities in the future – as mom's and babies can do with the extra love and care!"

"Your services will be terminated"

Parent24 contacted the Department of Defence for comment, and spokesperson for the SANDF Nkosiyabo Hams explained that part-time female employees are not entitled to maternity leave. "If should you fall pregnant while employed on a part time basis by the SANDF, your services will be terminated," he told us. 

Permanent female employees are granted 4 months of paid maternity leave, starting two weeks before the given birth date unless your doctor states otherwise.

"There is no paternity leave benefit. New fathers can apply for holiday leave, family responsibility leave or unpaid leave," he advised. 

According to positions advertised on Careers24 benefits include Maternity and Paternity Leave, but there are no further details.  

If you find yourself in a sticky situation,send us your questions, and we could publish an answer. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: chatback @

Read more:

Top local CEOs say employers need to work harder to retain mothers in the workplace

Novartis introduces pioneering equal parental leave policy in South Africa

#MaintenanceMatters: Everything you need to know about child maintenance

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