Maternity leave policies and benefits in South Africa stack up well against many other countries but could it be better? There is always room for improvement and Muhammed Goolab, executive committee member of the South African Rewards Association (SARA), has provided a glimpse into the potential positive changes that could take place.
Speaking with Business Tech, Goolab said that when looking ahead, maternity leave policies in the future would ultimately seek to alleviate mothers from childcare responsibilities.
“The most effective, future-focused maternity leave policies will be completely untied to gender and they will even encourage a balance between genders,” he said. “Some companies are looking at alternate leave structures for new parents, such as cumulative maternity leave benefits, progression in the number of leave days where parents need to take care of more than one child and reduced working hours. The most forward-thinking and attractive employers will also look at offering mothers returning to the workforce more flexible working arrangements that allow parents to better balance their responsibilities.”
Leading the way
Volvo is one example of a company thinking innovatively. Last year the brand announced it would be introducing an all-gender, paid parental leave policy. In a nutshell, the “Family Bond” policy offers employees 24 weeks of leave at 80% of their base pay by default to employees with at least one year’s service. The policy can be taken within the first three years of parenthood and can apply to either parent, whether they are natural birth parents or adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents of same-sex couples.
“According to South Africa’s latest parental leave laws – which were signed into law by president Cyril Ramaphosa and took effect from 1 January 2020 – all parents (including fathers, adopting parents, and surrogates) are entitled to 10 days of unpaid parental leave when their children are born,” noted Greg Maruszewski, managing director at Volvo Car South Africa. “Thanks to our Family Bond programme, parents employed at Volvo Car South Africa won’t only get considerably more time off work – but they will also receive compensation.”
While the policy benefits all family dynamics, the fact that employees will receive 80% of their base pay will be especially significant to single parents in South Africa, Maruszewski added.
The next step
Looking ahead, more companies will be integrating online leave management systems into their organizations. This is to ensure that business runs smoothly while giving employees a chance to adapt to their new family dynamic. At the moment, many businesses are tracking leave manually, but this has proven to be a tedious task that sets up room for errors and poor communication.
A clear online leave management system:
- Increases employee satisfaction and retention
- Creates policy consistency across the organization
- Ensures compliance with labor laws
- Reduces the number of management errors
- Increases productivity and efficiency
Try LeavePro free to see how it can simplify leave management in your organisation.