Landmark ruling gives gay couples paid parental leave
Same-sex couples will soon be able to take paid parental leave, as part of a landmark bill in South Africa.
The gender-neutral legislation will give same-sex couples – as well as surrogate parents – 10 paid days of parental leave.
Adoptive parents will be given two months.
It still has to pass one more vote and acquire President Jacob Zuma’s signature to become law.
Sonke Gender Justice, a non-profit organisation that works towards human rights advancements across Africa, welcomed the change.
“This bill is a landmark achievement for LGBTQI rights in South Africa, since it is gender-neutral and allows for adoption and surrogacy leave,” said Wessel van den Berg, the children’s rights manager at Sonke.
“The bill now allows for all parents to access leave.
“This includes fathers and adoptive parents.”
Prior to the bill being passed, fathers were only entitled three unpaid days off.
The bill also provides an adoptive parent of a child less than two years old with adoption leave of two months and two weeks consecutively.
If there are two adoptive parents, one of the two is entitled to adoption leave and the other to parental leave of 10 days.
The same provision is made for parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement.
“The country has allowed for same-sex marriage, but we have not allowed for same-sex parenting.
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“This bill allows for gay parents to enjoy the benefits of taking care of their children,” Van den Berg said.
South Africa has made strides in its LGBT policies, but there is still work to be done.
And homophobic abuse was hurled at a gay couple earlier this year, before they were body-slammed to the floor.