COSATU welcomes the implementation of paid parental leave from 1 January 2020

COSATU welcomes the enactment from Wednesday 1 January 2020, of paid parental leave for parents of newborn children.  This is a historic and long-fought for victory for workers, parents, children, and families across South Africa.

This is now an Act of Parliament, assented by the President and promulgated.  It is not a matter of negotiations or concessions by employers, but it is a law.  Employers who defy it will be violating Unemployment Insurance and Basic Conditions of Employment Acts (as amended in 2017 and 2018).

From 1st of January 2020 all parents will now be entitled to 10 days paid parental leave when their children are born. 

This does not apply to mothers who have given birth as they are entitled to paid maternity leave.  This covers fathers of newborn children and mothers of children born through surrogacy. 

Parents are entitled to take paid parental leave once a calendar year.  They will be required to apply for leave from their employer. 

Workers are entitled to claim UIF payments if their employer will not pay them their full salary.  The UIF will pay those workers 66% of their salary up to the BCEA earnings cap of R205 433.30 per annum.

Workers applying for UIF payments must fill in the required form at the UIF (, provide their ID, bank details and their child’s unabridged birth certificate which provides the details of the child’s parents.

COSATU is pleased that its efforts and workers’ hard-fought struggles have borne fruit with this achievement.  We encourage all eligible parents to exercise this progressive right.  Equally, it is important that parents use this leave for what it is intended for, namely, to help the mother recuperate from birth and to take care of their newborn child. 

Unions are called upon to ensure that all workers are aware of their rights and able to exercise them freely.  Unions must negotiate with their bargaining councils and employers to ensure that the new law is implemented immediately and for employers to cover the shortfall in salary earnings for the 10 days (e.g. the 34% of salary below R205 433.30 that is not covered by the UIF and to ensure that employers provide paid parental leave to workers earning above the R205 433.30 income threshold).

Employers are asked to embrace the progressive spirit of the law.  Those who fail to comply will be taken to the CCMA and Labour Courts and forced to abandon their backwardness.

For further information please contact- Cde Matthew Parks -COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687