The Sunday Times reports that countless fathers have been left out in the cold after the government failed to make good on new legislation giving them 10 days’ paid paternity leave. An amendment to the law was ratified last November and 1 January was earmarked for implementation, but the department of labour has not activated it. Men currently do not qualify for any paid paternity leave. Wessel van den Berg, a manager at NGO Sonke Gender Justice, said: “Data shows that in SA, women do eight times as much unpaid care work as men.” He added that paternity leave was “a major step forward in breaking down the stereotypes of men as breadwinners and women as caregivers”, and that the delay in implementation of the new Labour Laws Amendment Act was adding to women’s burden.
The department of labour referred The Sunday Times to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which redirected the query back to the department. Department spokesperson, Thembinkosi Mkalilpi, said parental leave was “passed by parliament and signed into law by the president”, but the UIF was “not ready with their systems”. UIF spokesperson Lungelo Mkamba said on Tuesday: “That falls within the ambit of the department of labour. We cannot do anything until they say so.” But on Thursday he updated his statement: “We are busy finalising regulations and working around the clock to be systems-ready before we start implementation. The matter is receiving our urgent attention and we hope to start the implementation soon.”
by Tanya Farber
Ref: SA Labour News