Employees: Your New Rights to Paternity and Parental Leave
“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one” (Psychologist Leo J Burke)
It has taken over a year of confusion and delay around when new changes will be implemented, but finally your extended rights to parental leave and to an Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claim have fully commenced.
Here’s an update/refresher –
- New mothers are still entitled to 4 consecutive months’ maternity leave.
- New “parents” (which would include fathers and same-sex partners) are entitled to 10 consecutive days’ “parental leave”.
- An adoptive parent of a child under 2 years old is entitled to 10 consecutive weeks’ adoption leave. Where there are two adoptive parents, the other is entitled to only the 10 consecutive days’ “parental leave” (the two adoptive parents should decide between them who gets 10 weeks and who gets 10 days).
- Commissioning parents in a surrogacy agreement have the same entitlements as adoptive parents.
- The law does not force your employer to give you paid leave – the above entitlements are for unpaid leave only. So unless your employment contract entitles you to paid leave you are limited to claiming from the UIF (assuming you are a qualifying contributor). That will give you 66% of your salary subject to a standard earnings cap.
And a note for employers: if you haven’t already done so, take advice now on reviewing your maternity and parental leave policies.