South Africa 26.4.2017 09:43 am

New fathers, fired workers to benefit from ‘improved’ Unemployment Insurance Act

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant briefs the media at the Intercontinental Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport 3 June 2013, She earlier met union federations Cosatu and Nactu and their mining affiliates NUM and Amcu Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant briefs the media at the Intercontinental Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport 3 June 2013, She earlier met union federations Cosatu and Nactu and their mining affiliates NUM and Amcu Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Minister Mildred Oliphant said tweaks to the law could see paternity leave increased as well as UIF benefits extended.

Newbie dads could get even more days of paternity leave off and may even get to dig into their Unemployment Insurance Fund, a privilege only available to fired employees.

Speaking ahead of labour month on Tuesday, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said she foresaw further tweaks to legislation.

In bygone legislation, fathers were give three days leave, while mothers got three months.

Dads may, with parliament’s go-ahead, get 10 days.

Oliphant said under the Unemployment Insurance Fund, an employee whose income would be docked would receive the same benefits, which have in the past only been available to domestic workers.

Going forward, if enacted, maternity benefits would no longer be on a sliding scale but a flat 60% of their wages or salaries.

“Unemployed contributors [to the UIF] will be able to receive benefits for 365 days instead of 238 days,” she said.

A woman who loses her baby in the third trimester would also be entitled to the full benefits.

And while in the past, UIF payments were only accessible to workers who were fired, from the tone of the minister, this arguably might change.

Director-general Thobile Lamati and the minister said it was accepted that in general with the minimum wage negotiations, some employers may not be able to pay.

They said it was up to the workers to scrutinise their terms of employment conditions. If unhappy, they would have to approach union representatives and or go to The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

“So therefore we are saying they have to inform the department of labour whether their employer is complying or not.

“We find with some of the employers they can’t afford this or they cannot afford that,” she said, adding that they agreed through Nedlac to comply.

“When finalised we expect everyone to comply. If we are all saying we respect the constitution … we need to comply with the legislation.

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