PARENTAL LEAVE (Paternity leave, Adoption leave and Surrogacy leave)

labour law parental leave Nov 02, 2019


These new categories of leave have been introduced during 2019, to make provision for longer paternity leave, but also specifically for parents in non-traditional relationships; or who may be adopting or have surrogacy arrangement.

All of this leave is unpaid (just like maternity leave), unless the employer has a policy to provide for (part) payment during these periods of leave. The parents can however claim UIF benefits, subject to certain conditions.

[Please note than as at 11 November 2019, only the provisions relating to the claiming of benefits for Parental leave (the 10 days) have come into operation. The actual leave entitlement for any of these types of leaves is not law yet, although it is expected to become so soon. We'll keep you updated here.]

Parental leave (includes paternity leave)

  • An employee who is a parent of a child is entitled to at least 10 consecutive days’ parental leave. This includes paternity leave. Where an employee is one of two parents who both qualify for adoption leave or commissioning surrogacy leave, parental leave applies to the parent who does not take the adoption- or surrogacy leave. The parents must exercise this choice.
  • The leave commences when the employee’s child is born; or in the case of adoption, when the adoption order is granted or the child is placed in the care of the adoptive parent by the court pending finalisation of an adoption order in respect of that child.

Adoption leave

  • An employee who is an adoptive parent of a child below the age of two is, entitled to either
    • adoption leave of at least 10 consecutive weeks; or
    • parental leave of 10 days as referred to above.
  • An employee may commence adoption/parental leave on the date on which–
    • the adoption order is granted;
    • the child is placed in the care of a prospective adoptive parent by a competent court, whichever date occurs first.
  • If an adoption order is made in respect of two adoptive parents, one of them may apply for Adoption Leave and the other adoptive parent may apply for the Parental Leave.

Commissioning parental (surrogacy) leave

  • An employee who is a commissioning parent in a surrogacy agreement is entitled to –
    • Commissioning Parental Leave of at least 10 consecutive weeks; or
    • Parental Leave of 10 days as referred to above.
  • An employee may commence Commissioning Parental Leave on the date that a child is born by virtue of a surrogate motherhood agreement.
  • If a surrogate motherhood agreement involves two commissioning parents, one of them may apply for Commissioning Parental Leave and the other commissioning parent may apply for Parental Leave.



This section will now change to exclude paternity leave (i.e. “when an employee’s child is born”), as paternity leave will now fall under the new Parental Leave and no longer be part of this section.

The amended clause will now read to apply as follows:

Three working days’ paid leave (total) per year for any of the following:

  • death of immediate family member;
  • when the employee’s child is sick.

[The employee may also take this leave in half-days.]

This leave entitlement applies only to employees who have been employed for longer than 4 months; and who works on at least 4 days a week for the employer.

The employer can require proof of the event before the paid leave is granted.

 Download a summary of the provisions as they are currently, at 


© Judith Griessel


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