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New leave conditions introduced from 1 January

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The President, on 23 December 2018, proclaimed 1 January 2020 as the date on which the amendments to the leave provisions in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) will become effective.

The practical effect of this is that employees will as of 1 January 2020 be entitled to a number of new types of leave not previously provided for.

The BCEA now provides for the following leave:

  • 10 consecutive days parental leave

Any employee, whether male or female, who is a parent (including adoptive parents), will be entitled to 10 days consecutive,unpaid, parental leave that may commence on the day the child is born or an adoption, or pending adoption, takes effect.

The entitlement in the BCEA regarding family responsibility leave for the birth of a child has been repealed.

  • 10 consecutive weeks adoption leave

Any employee who is an adoptive parent of a child under the age of 2 years will be entitled to 10 consecutive weeks unpaid leave OR the parental leave referred to above. The adoption leave may commence on the day the adoption order is granted or the child is placed in the care of a prospective adoptive parent by a competent court.

If an adoption order is granted to two adoptive parents, one of the adoptive parents may apply for adoption leave and the other adoptive parent may apply for the parental leave as set out above.

  • 10 consecutive weeks commissioning parental leave

Any employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogate motherhood agreement will be entitled to 10 consecutive weeks unpaid leave OR the parental leave referred to above. The adoption leave may commence on the day the child is born as a result of the surrogate motherhood agreement.

If a surrogate motherhood agreement has two commissioning parents, one of the commissioning parents may apply for commissioning parental leave and the other commissioning parent may apply for the parental leave referred to above.