All you need to know about family responsibility leave in South Africa

What will you do when an unforeseen medical emergency come up after skipping work for the second time in week? With the fear of being sacked, most employees find themselves in confusion when a situation like this arises.

In any organisation, workers are entitled to apply for a family responsibility leave, which implies taking three days off to attend to urgent matters, medical emergency, injury, or illness.

However, not every employee in a company is entitled to such a leave –some rules and regulations determine who is given the leave and under specific circumstances.

It is important to have a clear understanding of what the entire provision involves, reasons that might warrant it, who can receive it, the maximum number of days allowed, as well as what determines whether one is eligible or not.

Read on to learn more about family responsibility leave South Africa.

Do I qualify for paid family leave?

All workers in a company are subject to the basic conditions of employment act family responsibility leave. However, some members are exempted from the provisions of this Act including those serving in the National Defence Force, South African Secret Service, National Intelligence Agency, or the Unpaid volunteers doing charity work.

It is important to note that not every reason you provide is considered valid for the leave. You are entitled to it following a medical emergency, injury, illness, or an urgent matter that affects your close relatives such as your spouse, parent, siblings, dependent relatives, or any child under your care.

According to the South African Labor Act, for someone to be eligible, they should have a working record of more than four months with their current employer. The law dictates that for anyone to be eligible, they should be on employment for at least 4 days a week.

How many days do you get for family responsibility leave?

Each year, employees in a given company are allowed a maximum of 3 days. The entitlement does not include any pro-rating.

While it is not possible to accrue all your days, you can decide to use them separately. In addition, it is possible to make them in full days, part days, or even in periods exceeding a day. However, the maximum allowable number of days is three.

Notice requirement

All employees planning to take responsibility leave should inform their employers in advance. However, where one starts the off days before letting their employer know, it is important to notify them immediately once they start. Usually, an employee does not lose their right to taking some days off if they do not inform their employers before beginning it. In spite of this, it is always important to follow the guidelines that your organization has as far as taking off days is concerned.

Entitlement proof

Some companies have particular aspects that are considered reasonable for one’s eligibility for a family responsibility leave. However, in most of the cases, the judgment depends on the facts surrounding a given situation. In some cases, an employee might look at one’s pattern of absences, the number of leave days per month requested, the availability of any evidence, or even the evidence’s cost.

For instance, a police report or an invoice given by an auto mechanic or a towing company might be needed in a case where an employee seeks permission because a family member suffered a car accident. In the case of an illness, medical emergency, or injury, employers are prohibited from demanding any medical notes from the employee. The same applies to the disclosure of the relative’s medical condition.

Do employees have any right during the leave?

Anyone on a family responsibility leave enjoys similar rights like any other employee in the organisation on parental or pregnancy leave. This means that your employer can not penalise, fire, or even threaten you in any way.

Injuries, illnesses, death and medical emergencies are all things that humans cannot control. Family responsibility leave offers the relieve every employee needs to address their medical and other related emergencies.

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