Adoption benefits already form part of the UI Act but it appears that the right to access commissioning parental leave of up to 10 consecutive weeks per annum will only be system-ready in the UI context from 1 April 2020 when the systems have passed user acceptance testing in this regard.
The amendments include paying for maternity benefits at 66% of the employee’s rate of payment. Unemployment, illness adoption and dependent benefits can also be claimed for up to a full year at the proportions stipulated rather than for the previous 238 days. In most instances, the period within which to claim benefits has been extended from six months to 12 months. Another example of the more beneficial provisions is that illness benefits can be claimed for an illness of more than seven days, previously 14 days.
There is little doubt that these amendments will provide more considerable assistance to employees and the growing number of unemployed. However, employers will have to pay greater attention to their workforce planning requirements as they may well experience higher levels of absenteeism across the parental, adoption and commissioning parental scenarios.
Employers need to amend their human resources policies and procedures in respect of parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave as soon as possible.