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Thu, 07 Dec 2017
Yes! South African dads are getting paid paternity leave!

Yesterday a bill was passed in Parliament that will allow fathers to spend 10 working days at home with their new families. Here’s what you need to know.

On Tuesday 28 November, Parliament gave the thumbs up to a bill that will give fathers in South Africa the right to 10 days’ paid paternity leave.

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly in Parliament and will now be reviewed by the National Council of Provinces.

The bill also includes provisions for 10 weeks’ parental adoption leave if the baby is under 2 years (applies to one parent only) and surrogacy leave, and increased UIF and maternity benefits.

It places a bigger burden on the UIF chest, but will ultimately lead to healthier families.

Kenneth Meshoe, ACDP party leader, said they welcomed and encouraged initiatives that facilitate the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives, especially “in a country where fathers have historically been separated from their families and survival necessitated an acceptance of not being able to bond and be hands-on in their day-to-day upbringing.”

Matthew Parks, parliamentary co-ordinator for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), is quoted by Business Dayas saying: “This bill will see billions of rand released from the UIF into the pockets of workers, and thus help them take care of their families and spur local economies. It will also help fathers play greater roles in taking care of their newborn children.”

Wessel van den Berg, from Sonke Gender Justice, was quoted in a Sonke tweet:

VERY important to note with regards to the landmark Labour Laws Amendment Bill passed yesterday in the National Assembly: it is a PARENTAL leave bill, not a paternity leave bill. @HuffPostSA @TimesLiveNews@mailandguardian @dailymaverick

— Sonke (@SonkeTogether) November 29, 2017


What does the law currently say about paternity leave in SA?

At the moment, dads who want to stay with their baby and its mother still have to take family responsibility leave, which is limited to 3 days per annual cycle, or put in annual leave. They’re only entitled to family responsibility leave once they’ve been employed for 4 months and for at least four days a week. The current law also makes no provision for paternity leave for adoption or surrogacy.

A mother is entitled to unpaid maternity leave of 4 months, while her position is reserved for her. However she may claim from UIF for 17 weeks, at 38% to 58% of her salary (the salary ceiling is R12 478), tax-free. Some employers do pay their employees in part or full.


How we stack up against the rest of the world:

This new bill will bring SA more in line with other countries, many of which offer 1 to 4 weeks’ paternity leave. Some give parental leave which may be taken by one parent or split between both parents. And some offer incredible benefits for dads. Here’s a snapshot:

In Canada, dads have several options. They may take 5 weeks of maternity leave at 70% pay, or 3 weeks at 75% pay (up to a certain maximum), paid by social security. Alternatively either parent may take 32 weeks: 7 [...]

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Thu, 07 Dec 2017
Parliament finally passes sugary drinks tax

South Africa is on the right path to reverse the alarming numbers of diabetes cases and other NCDs associated with obesity.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) today passed the tax on sugary drinks, which is part of the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Revenue Law Amendment Bill.

This marks the end of 18 months of negotiations on the tax that included four public hearings and a negotiation process in Nedlac. The tax, due to be implemented on 1 April 2018, will see the price of a can of Coca Cola increase by around 11%.

SA on the right path

“We applaud Members of Parliament for putting the health of millions of South Africans before the narrow interests of the beverage and sugar industries,” said Tracey Malawana, coordinator of the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA).

“Thanks to Treasury and MPs, South Africa is on the right path to reverse the alarming numbers of diabetes cases and other NCDs associated with obesity. We now look to the President to sign this important law without delay. “

Initially Treasury proposed a tax of around 20% on a can of Coca Cola. The current tax will levy 2.1 cents per gram of sugar on all sweetened drinks, with the first 4g of sugar per 100ml exempt as an incentive to encourage industry to reformulate its drinks to reduce their sugar content.

A victory for public health

South Africans are among the top 10 consumers of sugary drinks in the world, and research has shown that drinking just one sugary fizzy drink a day increases ones’ chance of being overweight by 27% for adults and 55% for children. Diabetes alone claimed more than 25 000 lives in 2015, and public health facilities reported seeing 10 000 new diabetes cases every month last year.

“While the tax is a victory for public health, it is around 11% on a can and we would like it to be strengthened to 20% to really deter people,” said Malawana. “We will also be monitoring how the proceeds of the tax are used to ensure that government uses the money for health promotion.”

Over 30 countries worldwide are taxing sugary drinks, and South Africa joins Portugal, India, Saudi Arabia and Thailand who have passed similar taxes this year. – Health-e News.


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Wed, 29 Nov 2017
Calls to restructure economy to make it more inclusive

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says there is a need to restructure the economy in order to ensure inclusive growth.

He also said the manufacturing sector, which has been faced with several challenges globally, has shown signs of being a creator of jobs through its linkages with several service sectors.

The Minister said this when briefing journalists on Tuesday after briefing the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the state of manufacturing, the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and the World Trade Organisation.

“The discussion that we had [when presenting to Parliament] we reiterated that the term radical economic transformation means we have to bring about changes in the structural characteristics of our economy as well as in the patterns of ownership.

“We will not be able to achieve higher levels of inclusive economic growth unless we move away from where we are, where colonialism left us as producers and exporters of primary commodities,” he said.

The Minister said despite several technological advances having taken place, including in the area of food technologies, the manufacturing sector has remained buoyant and has been able to continue to sustain jobs through linkages to other services sectors.

“Where worldwide we are seeing that manufacturing is not creating as many jobs as it used to create, it has very strong linkages to service sectors and multiplies through service sectors which means that manufacturing is critical and that linkage is critical to ensure that there are more jobs in an economy.”

In the earlier presentation to the committee, Members of Parliament were told that the manufacturing sector has the highest economic multipliers because of its value addition, linkages to the upstream production sectors of the economy, like mining and agriculture, as well as downstream services.

The sector continues to contribute directly to the Gross Domestic Product, employment, exports and human capital development.

Work being done to bolster investor confidence, address localisation challenges

The Minister said, meanwhile, that work was being done in several sectors, especially among manufacturers, to bolster investor confidence.

He said in several meetings held with investors, he has tried to persuade them that despite the lower than desirable economic growth, there is value to be added to the economy.

He also said that while the country was faced with a low level of investor confidence, the Industrial Action Policy Plan speaks directly to challenges that are seen as obstacles for investors through the actions that are envisaged in the Nine-Point Plan.

“What we do is to try and convince those investors that one, there is value to be added to this economy. Two, holding back and waiting for miracles … is not necessarily solving the problems,” he said.

He said the department has also assured investors that there will be meaningful support to assist investors to roll-out of your investment.

Meanwhile, the Minister also said that while there are a number of short-comings in the localisation strategy, they were being addressed through the tightening of regulations, as well as enforcing localisation determinations. –


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