Written by: Gillian Fraser

As of November 1st, employees who were not entitled to maternity leave before will now on be entitled to 10 days’ paid parental leave to be paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. This extends to fathers, parents of adopted children (2 years and younger), and parents through surrogacy.

This is an historic and long fought victory for workers, parents, children and families across South Africa. This was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 23rd November 2018, and implemented into the constitution as of November 1st 2019.

Former ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley is a history maker, being the first member of the parliament of SA to have a Private Members’ Bill be accepted by a committee, then be passed in the National Assembly, and then passed in the NCOP

ACDP

Dudley shared the following with JOY:

One of the most amazing things for me as a member of parliament is that meaningful and profound moments happen right alongside everything else. They cause you to smile – your heart may even want to burst with joy or break with compassion – but they quickly become part of one big amazing tapestry of life-changing decisions, successes, near successes, and failures.

There are many moments of exquisite revelation and realisation of God’s love and awesome majesty in parliament.

The Labour Laws Amendment bill took 4 years, but it got there. It provides for Parental & Adoption leave and has been celebrated across South Africa by workers and especially young fathers who enthusiastically welcomed being recognised and valued in this important role. It has been such a privilege for me to have been entrusted with this bill and I am grateful to God. Having four sons, one daughter, four grandsons, and two granddaughters, I couldn’t be more delighted for young people starting families.

Empowering women
This legislation should also empower women who have traditionally shouldered all the childbearing, childcare, and domestic responsibilities. When dads share domestic and child care responsibilities, it is very empowering for women – and children benefit. In a country where men have been separated from their families through circumstances and very few even have their names on the registration of their children’s births, this legislation allows space for fathers to meaningfully connect. 

Adoption leave is a new concept
Adoption leave is also such a relief for those who are considering taking this step and an encouragement for others to do the same – too many children grow up on the outside or periphery of a family and it is unfair – heartbreaking.

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“And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.” – Deuteronomy 7:22

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Date published: 04/11/2019
Feature image: Cheryllyn Dudley in parliament

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