Labour Laws Amendment Bill to be Tweaked

Department of Labour

Parliament has called for comment on proposed amendments to the Labour Laws Amendment Bill.

The private member’s bill proposing paternity leave for fathers was tabled at the end of 2015.

It was drawn up by the African Christian Democratic Party’s (ACDP) Cheryllyn Dudley.

The bill seeks to introduce amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act.

According to the bill’s memorandum, it was drafted in response to appeals by fathers to the ACDP for paternity leave to be included in current labour law.

The party holds the view that the parental leave provision would facilitate early bonding between fathers and their children resulting in stronger families.

The proposed legislation also calls for adoption leave for adoptive parents and commissioning parental leave for commissioning parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement.

Other proposals include:

•    to provide that a collective agreement may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave;
•    to amend the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001, so as to provide for the right to claim parental and commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund;
•    to provide for the application for, and the payment of, parental and commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund;
•    to correct an obsolete reference to an Act;
•    to provide that the number of contributors to whom parental and commissioning parental benefits were paid and the amount of such payments be included in the written report from the Director-General to the Minister;
•    and to provide for matters connected.
The proposed amendment seeks to correct a typographical error in section 24(5) of the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001.

Section 24(5) of the Act currently contains an error where it refers to “17 to 32 weeks” as opposed to “17.32 weeks”.

The labour committee seeks comment until 31 October 2017.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the labour department has declared that amendments to the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act will be tabled in parliament before the end of 2017/18.

The department also indicated that Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act regulations have been drawn up and are ready for publication.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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