A petition calling for elder care leave has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour. The bill was first put forward by Hendri Terblanche, a private citizen, who seeks to amend the law that allows employees to take time off to help workers to care for their ageing or terminally ill parents.

Terblanche reportedly received a letter from Lechesa Tsenoli, who is a deputy speaker within the National Assembly, saying that his request would be referred for consideration by the portfolio committee.

In July 2018, Terblanche petitioned to Parliament to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act to include “parent, adoptive or grandparent” in the section which deals with permissable leave. In the petition, he proposed that employees receive three days of paid leave, or six weeks of unpaid leave when a parent, regardless of whether they are adoptive or biological, is ill.

“As the population in South Africa ages, more time needs to be devoted to take care of our elders,” his letter reads according to TimesLIVE. “Our parents have dedicated their whole lives to take care of us to the best of their abilities, and now it is our time to take care of our parents to the best of our abilities.”

Parliament’s Select Commitee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings has discussed the petition, and in October last year, Terblanche was invited to present arguments on the matter.

“Employees with care-giving responsibilities are now another step closer to legally fulfill their care-giving duties without the risk of losing their jobs,” he said. “Eldercare leave will not only ensure we can take better care of our elders, but it will also ensure that the Basic Conditions of Employment act 75 of 1997 is more in line with the constitution, African charter on human and people’s rights and even the 2030 national development plan.”

This is not the first time Terblanche has approached Parliament with amendments to the law. He successfully petitioned as far back as 2017 to allow men to get more days off to take care of their newborn children.

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