Ground-breaking labour law ruling: Court grants gay dad full maternity leave benefits

Karin Iten, Fsp Business, 01 Apr. 2015

Tags: maternity leave, maternity leave for gay parents, maternity leave in south africa, maternity leave rules, labour law maternity leave, maternity leave benefits, paid leave

It's all over the news:

A gay father in Durban has been granted FULL maternity leave (four month's paid leave) to take care of his baby who was born through a surrogate mother.

Read on to discover why the court ruled in favour of the father and what this means for your company.

The reason the court granted full maternity leave is simple

According to reports, the father man sought legal action after the company he works for granted him only two months' paid leave and two months' unpaid leave to take care of his newborn. 
But labour court deemed this unacceptable.
Why? Because the man is the main caregiver of the child.
As such, it ruled the company's actions as discriminatory. And said that refusing a male member of a same-sex couple, who is the main caretaker of a child, the equivalent maternity leave given to mothers was unlawful. 
So what does this mean for you?
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How will this ruling change South Africa's maternity leave landscape?

Until now, many South African companies have only offered same-sex couples in a similar situation three days of paid family responsibility leave.
Yer in this case, the court expressed the view that the 'entitlement to maternity leave cannot solely be linked to the health and welfare of the parent but must also extend to the best interests of the child and that any failure to do so would be in contravention of the Bill of Rights and the Children's Act.'
This is something you as a business owner need to consider immediately. 
Because while this ruling is too new to predict the full extent of how it will change maternity leave in South Africa, one thing is abundantly clear:
The effect of this judgement has far reaching implications in both public and private business. As an employer, rework your maternity leave policy immediately to ensure you're not putting the best interest of your employee's child in danger. If you don't, yours could be the next company that faces a labour court ruling like this one.

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