Conditions of Employment

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Family Responsibility Leave 

By André Claassen


Firstly, only an employee who has worked for longer than four months with the same employer, and who is employed on more than four days per week with the same employer, qualifies for family responsibility leave.


This class of leave replaces what was in the past known as paternity leave, special leave, compassionate leave or any other name that it was known by.


Family Responsibility Leave now covers specific requirements - anything not mentioned in paragraph 27(2) does not qualify for family responsibility leave.


The provisions cover instances where:


  • the employee's child is born

  • the employee's child or adopted child is sick

  • the death of the employee’s spouse or life partner; the death of the employee's parent, adopted parent, grandchild, grandparent, or brother or sister.


Note that the employee only qualifies for family responsibility leave in cases of illness only if it is the employee's child or adopted child that is sick.


No other incident of illness is covered under the section - the illness of the employees spouse or life partner, the illness of his/her parent, grandparent, brother or sister, cousin, brother-in-law, mother in law, or anybody else is not covered under family responsibility leave. The employee must use annual leave for that purpose.


Similarly, the occasion of the death of a person only qualifies for family responsibility leave if the death is one of the persons named above. The death of any other relatively is not covered by family responsibility leave. Those occasions must be treated as annual leave.


This section also makes no provision for Family Responsibility Leave upon the adoption of a child – employees must use annual leave for that purpose.


For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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