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Men fight for the right to paid paternity leave.

Listen: Sirshin Moodliar spoke to Adv Grobler about a potential change to our legislation that allows men to take up to 10 days paternity leave in South Africa.

Father

An online petition has been doing the rounds since last year in order to gather support for a change in legislation regarding leave for biological fathers and or adoptive fathers. It has gathered quite some steam and a father in Cape Town, Henri Terblanche has joined the fight and is lobbying for the changes.

 

Currently in South Africa fathers are due 3 days of family responsibility leave, first of all, this is certainly not enough time to bond with the new born child or enough time to allow the mother to settle into her routine of looking after the child. Secondly the 3 days family responsibility leave is a right owed to all South African’s including females. Therefore a male is not granted any paternity leave whatsoever. If a man want’s to take leave he has to do so out of his own annual leave.

 

There are countless countries, including our African neighbours, Cameroon, Burundi and Gabon who offer up to 10 days paternity leave to fathers. Our cousins in Europe are far more progressive with Iceland giving fathers up to 12 weeks leave. We only need to look to our sporting foes, New Zealand to see what they have done is perhaps more on par with what should  be granted – they give out a total of 18 weeks leave between both parents who are left to decide how to split up the leave accordingly.  

 

The Labour Court recently awarded homosexual fathers 4 months maternity leave when they had a child through surrogacy. This ground-breaking case strengthens the argument for heterosexual fathers' right to Paternity Leave.

 

Recent studies indicate that South African households are increasingly sharing responsibilities equally between partners and these responsibilities should include care for newborn babies. In countries that provide sufficient paternity leave to fathers, studies have found that women not only recover faster from the physical stress of child birth, but also return to their employment more revitalised.

 

We put a poll out to you and here is how you voted.

We spoke to Adv Kaiel Grobler of Law For All who started the petition on how the system currently works and what we have to look forward to if the bill passes. Here is what he had to say.

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