What Does Family Responsibility Leave Cover?

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What Does Family Responsibility Leave Cover?

What is Family Responsibility Leave in South Africa? Family responsibility leave is three days of paid leave per year, which full-time employees are entitled to if you work more than four days per week, after four months of employment, over and above annual and sick leave. Family Responsibility leave can be taken on request when the employee's child is born (Parental Leave now covers the birth or adoption of a child) or sick, or in the event of the death of the employee's spouse or life partner, or the employee's parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling. 

Employees are entitled to 3 days of family responsibility leave per year, as long as:

  • The employee is a a full-time or permanent employee
  • The employee works more than four days per week
  • The employee has worked for the company for at least four months.

Here is what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act covers with respect to family responsibility leave in South Africa:


Who can take family responsibility leave?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employers and workers, but not members of:

  • National Defence Force,
  • National Intelligence Agency, or
  • South African Secret Service; or
  • Unpaid volunteers working for charity.

The section of the Act that regulates working hours does not apply to:

  • Workers in senior management.
  • Sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours.
  • Workers who work less than 24 hours in a month.
  • Workers who earn more than an amount stated in terms of section 6 (3) of the Act.
  • Workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.
  • Workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.


When can family responsibility leave be taken in South Africa?

An employer must grant an employee, during each annual leave cycle, at the request of the employee, three days’ paid leave, which the employee is entitled to take:

  • If an employee’s child or adopted child is sick (younger than 18 years old),
  • Upon the death of the employee’s spouse or life partner; the death of the employee’s parent, adoptive parent, child, adopted child, grandchild, grandparent, or sibling.


Do you get paid when taking family responsibility leave?

The employer must pay an employee for up to three days of family responsibility leave.

  • The wage the employee would ordinarily have received for work on that day; and
  • On the employee’s usual pay day.

Before paying an employee for leave in terms of this section, an employer may require reasonable proof of an event for which the leave was required. This is merely for company records.

An employee may take family responsibility leave in respect of the whole or a part of a day.

An employee’s unused entitlement to leave in terms of this section lapses at the end of the annual leave cycle in which it accrues.

A collective industry or union agreement may vary the number of days and the circumstances under which leave is to be granted in terms of this Act. 

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