On 1 November 2019, the Department of Labour promulgated changes to the UIF benefits which had been originally passed on 1 January 2019.  These changes affect the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act as well as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.  They originate from the Labour Laws Amendment Act which was passed in November 2019 as a result of an initiative of the ACDP Party’s member for Parliament Mrs Dudley.

What do these changes mean?  They introduce new types of leave which are available to all employees and those who have contributed to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for more than 13 weeks.  These types of leave are described below. 

Payment of UIF will be calculated at 66% of salary up to a maximum of 66% of the benefit threshold, currently set at R17 712-00 per month.

This means that if you earn R8 000-00 per month your benefit will be R5 280-00 per month.  If you earn more than the benefit threshold of R17 712.00 your benefit will be a maximum of R11 689-92 per month.

Maternity Leave

You, as the mother of a baby, are entitled to four month’s maternity leave.  This means that your company is required to allow you to return to work after four months and must guarantee you the same or similar position that you enjoyed before.  They are not required to pay you during this period as you are able to claim from the UIF fund.  However, they can choose to do so and many companies make a part payment of salary.

Important things to know about the new Maternity Leave UIF application process:

  • You can apply for leave as soon as you know that you are pregnant, and you can make an application on the new on-line application system.
  • The Claim will be activated on the submission of a birth certificate containing the full name of the parent.
  • If your baby is still-born or you miscarry during the third trimester, you are entitled to the full maternity leave benefit.
  • Payment will be made into your bank account monthly on submission of a continuation form

Adoption Leave

The new legislation provides for adoption leave of 10 Weeks.  This is available to one of the parents (the parents can decide who is going to take this leave) who legally adopts a child under the age of two years and can be taken from the time that the child is handed into the care of the adoptive parents.  Proof of the adoption must be provided.

Commissioning Leave

This part of the act will be promulgated on 1 April 2020.

One of the parents of a child who has been born and where there is a legal surrogate arrangement is also entitled to take 10 week’s commissioning leave.  This can be taken when the child is born subject to proof of a surrogate agreement being legally concluded. 

Parental Leave

The father of a child or the other parent in an adoption or commissioning arrangement can take 10 days of parental leave.  This leave replaces the Family Responsibility Leave for the Birth of a Child which has been deleted from the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. 

The father of a child must present a copy of the child’s birth certificate and it must have full details of both parents.  The parent wishing to take parental leave in the case of adoption and commissioning leave must submit copies of the legal agreements.

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