From Sonke Gender Justice <[email protected]>
Subject Sonke welcomes the landmark ruling by Johannesburg High Court on parental leave
Date October 27, 2023 3:30 PM
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** Sonke welcomes the landmark ruling by Johannesburg High Court on parental leave

** For Immediate Release

The Johannesburg High Court has handed down a judgement that will now see South African fathers enjoy up to four months of parental leave and associated Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits. The matter was brought to court by a Polokwane couple, Werner and Ika van Wyk, with Sonke Gender Justice and the Commission for Gender Equality among other organisations appearing as amicus.

The verdict as delivered by Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland, concluded that the provisions of the current BCEA regulating parental leave offend against sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution as they unfairly discriminate between mothers and fathers. Under the new interim conditions, new parents from a natural birth will be able to determine how the four months of parental leave is shared among themselves, while parents of surrogate children, and adoptive parents to children under the age of two will get to enjoy the same parental leave rights.

Sonke believes this ruling marks a new era of a more inclusive and equitable society, as well as recognising the diversity of modern family structures and that both parents play an integral part in the nurturing of children.

“We welcome this landmark judgement which is contributing to growing our jurisprudence on the quest for shared care-work in families. Although we did not get all that we prayed for, we are nevertheless gratified that the court was persuaded on the key asks by the legal teams. This is groundbreaking and will go a long way in influencing a positive attitude towards shared care work’’ said Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice and Co-Chairperson of Global MenEngage Alliance.

Sonke has noted that the court has called on the legislature to remedy the identified defects in the laws and ensure that amendments are effected with the next 24 months. Together with partners, Sonke will remain engaged in this process to monitor the implementation of this judgment.
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