Editorials 1.12.2017 06:43 am

New parental leave law spells equality

AFP photo.

AFP photo.

Even then, we acknowledge, what is in the statute books can be a far cry from what actually happens in our streets, in our offices and in our houses.

South Africa will never be a truly free country until all are treated equally by the law.

Even then, we acknowledge, what is in the statute books can be a far cry from what actually happens in our streets, in our offices and in our houses.

But equality, in legal terms, is a positive step towards a better society.

This week, a landmark Bill was passed by parliament which will, effectively entitle all parents to take parental leave.

In the past, only mothers have legally been allowed to take maternity leave – and this has been guaranteed in labour law.

Under the Labour Laws Amendment Bill – which still has to pass scrutiny by the National Council of Province and be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma – fathers will now be entitled to 10 days’ parental leave.

The provision also applies to same-sex couples, as well as surrogate and adoptive parents, which marks a seismic change in how the law regards what constitutes a family.

The proposed law changes are gender neutral and have been hailed as a major achievement for LBGQTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex) community.

It’s more than that, though: It’s a milestone victory for equality.

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