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Family Responsibility Leave in South Africa

What is Family Responsibility Leave?   It seems self explanatory, but in South Africa (and in many other countries, I am sure), families are extended beyond the nuclear one.   Frequently, aunts look after children for many years without formal adoption, but they fall outside of the legal requirements ie if a child falls ill under an aunt's care, the aunt may not take family responsibility leave (FRL).

There are also interpretations of the word "child", some companies have taken the view that a child has to be under 18 if you wish to take FRL.  Others contend that the child must be financially dependent on the parents, or still living at home, if over 18.   A further variation is that there are companies that allow sick leave to be used as FRL.

Line management are constantly trying to improve productivity levels and complain about abuse of  non holiday leave.    (While discussing this, it must be noted that there are people who have serious or chronic illnesses that require careful medical management and sick leave is essential to their continued health. )

A lack of consistency in handling excessive use of non holiday leave is an issue.   It is important to have clear policies that kick in quickly.

Informal research shows that the level of staff engagement has an impact on the amount of casual sick leave taken.   People who ensure that they get their 30 sick days every 3 years, taking a day per month, are typically less engaged, and more inclined to believe that all types of leave need to be utilised, with the possible exclusion of study leave!  

Family Responsibility Leave is a right but it is bound by both employment law and management discretion, as there are times when 3 days are simply not enough.       (Read the Swedish laws, links below).   Unfortunately, if an individual's leave pattern is impinging on the company's ability to function effectively, management is much less likely to compromise the rules, when a real emergency occurs.



Links, Notes and References

Reasons for Leave (from Dept of Labour website)

You may take family responsibility leave:
  • when your child is born
  • when your child is sick
  • in the event of the death of your
    • spouse or life partner
    • parent or adoptive parent
    • grandparent
    • child or adopted child
    • grandchild
    • sibling.
Based on Legislation in Section 27, of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act




Accsys PeopleWare
Sweden Parental Leave
Department of Labour
DOL Section 27
Children's Act

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