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HR 101 – What to do When . . . Your Staff Want To Take Family Responsibility Leave

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations, Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Best Practice Requirements.

Welcome back to my protagonists. Mike owns a small retail store and he has one employee – Jane. Jane is married and is now pregnant – what is Mike’s responsibility.

Well here is what the law says in terms of granting Family Responsibility Leave:

1. The law states that your employee is entitled to have 4 (four) months of maternity leave. Granted you don’t have to pay her while she is on maternity leave, but she is entitled to take four months and furthermore, you will be obliged to take her back after those four months are up.

2. Should Jane’s now newborn child become ill, Jane is entitled to now take 3 (three) days Family Responsibility Leave per annum. Jane is also entitled to take her own sick leave if her child is ill and should that also run out, she would be able to link her annual leave to this as well, and finally, when she runs out of annual leave, Mike will be requested to give her unpaid leave.

Here’s there thing though, Jane will have to provide documentary evidence to prove that the child is ill. The normal “sick” leave policy and rules still apply and Mike is entitled to ask for a doctor’s certificate.

3. During the time that Jane worked for Mike, her father passed away. Mike is obliged, by law to allow Jane 3 (three) days of Family Responsibility Leave (provided that she has not already taken it for a sick baby – the law states 3 days per annum). Jane will have to produce documentary evidence again, to prove that the person who died, was in fact her father or that they are a member of her immediate family. The law states that an immediate family member is as follows:
a) Spouse or life partner;
b) Parents
c) Children.

Remember too though – the employee is only entitled to 3 (three) days Family Responsibility leave per annum. It cannot be accumulated and it cannot be paid out.