Here’s why you should watch the outcome of the case of the gay dad who’s taken his employer to court over maternity leave

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 25 Nov. 2014

Tags: maternity leave, maternity leave entitlement, adoptive parents and maternity leave, adoption leave, family responsibility leave

Maternity leave is once again in the spotlight.

This time around, a gay man has taken his employer to court over maternity leave.

According to a SAPA report, “the Durban man who’s in a same-sex marriage was denied maternity leave after a surrogate pregnancy.”

He’s accusing his employer of unfair discrimination after “his request for full maternity leave was denied after he and his partner entered into a surrogacy agreement and became parents to a newborn child in 2011.”

In court papers, he says, after his employer told him the four months paid maternity leave only applies to women and that he can only get family responsibility leave, he took the matter to his head of human resources. When he did this, he was granted the same leave allowance as an adoptive parent – two months.

He believes “this was unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender, sex, family responsibility and sexual orientation.” And he now wants the court to stop his employer from practicing “unfair discrimination” and give him two months pay and damages of R400 000.

The court has reserved judgement. But we believe you should watch the outcome of this case closely. Here’s why…

Here are the reasons why the outcome of this maternity leave battle is so important

According to the Cape Times, “the outcome of the case, presently before Judge David Gush in Durban’s Labour Court, could set a precedent for maternity leave policies regarding both surrogacy and adoption.”
And that means it could directly affect the way you deal with maternity leave in your company.
As things stand, this is the standard practice when it comes to granting maternity leave to adoptive parents.

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Here’s the standard practice when it comes to granting maternity leave to adoptive parents

Male employees aren’t entitled to maternity leave. They can only take three days family responsibility leave.
According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, there’s no legislative leave granted to adoptive parents. But the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act provides for the payment of adoption benefits for an adoptive parent.
“Until the law changes, this type of adoption leave’s a matter for negotiation between you and your employee,” adds the Loose Leaf Service.
PS: For more information on maternity leave, check out Your Maternity Leave Solution and keep your eye out for more on this story.

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