September 19, 2021

Proposal to expand maternity leave rights in South Africa

The South African Legislation Reform Fee (SALRC) has referred to as for feedback on a dialogue paper round maternity leave rights in South Africa.

The dialogue paper particularly focuses on pregnant employees who’re self-employed, with these employees falling into one thing of a legislative loophole beneath present maternity laws.

South African moms are entitled to 4 months of maternity leave and workers who contribute to UIF are additionally eligible to obtain that profit.

Some corporations pay as a lot as 75% to 100% of a brand new mom’s wage whereas on maternity leave and if there’s a shortfall, this may be claimed from the UIF.

“A gap currently exists in the state’s social protection system, in that self-employed workers in the informal economy are excluded from receiving maternity and parental benefits when the mother enters confinement,” the SALRC mentioned.

“This situation exacerbates the socioeconomic problems of poverty and inequality between women and men in South Africa, prevents women’s full economic participation, and impacts on their reproductive choices.”

To deal with these points, the SALRC has made the next suggestions:

  • Authorities ought to prolong the prevailing Unemployment Insurance coverage Fund (UIF) system to self-employed employees in the casual economic system. The definition of an ’worker’ in the Primary Circumstances of Employment Act and the UIF Act also needs to be up to date to replicate this.
  • Self-employed employees ought to obtain the identical advantages as different employees beneath part 25 of the Primary Circumstances of Employment Act. This contains no less than 4 consecutive months of maternity leave which permits for absence from work whereas incomes a wage.
  • The present youngster assist grant ought to be prolonged to all pregnant self-employed employees in the casual economic system who fulfil the standards. The maternity assist ought to be offered for 9 months of being pregnant and be registered in the title of the expectant mom. It ought to then be transformed into a toddler assist grant after the start of the kid per part 6(a) of the Social Help Act.
  • Authorities should speed up the roll-out of early childhood growth centres in casual workplaces and areas the place casual employees reside, equivalent to avenue buying and selling; waste recycling; metropolis markets; casual settlements and townships. It’s also really useful that municipalities be urged to take up this advice in their industrial growth plans as a part of infrastructure provisioning.

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