Virgin's Branson Unveils 12 months Fathers' Leave, Full Pay

Cape Town – Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, has announced a new policy to grant male employees up to 12 months paternity leave.

“If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business,” Branson said in a statement. “As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes”.

According to an Independent report, the offer has a few restrictions including that employees must have been with Virgin for at least four years to receive the paternity or maternity pay of 100% of their salaries.

Newer employees get remunerated proportionately and those with less than two years service could get 25% remuneration, which is still higher than most deals.

Only about 140 workers representing the overarching investment and brand licensing arm of the global Virgin Group based in Geneva and London can take advantage of the policy, according to the report.

South African fathers are entitled to three days paid family responsibility leave when their child is born. However Section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997) does not make for provision for specific paternity leave.

In July 2014, paternity leave campaigner Hendri Terblanche wrote to Fin24 explaining that “if a father chooses to take his three days paid leave to spend with his new born child and support his wife/partner, he in effect cancels any further paid family responsibility leave for that leave cycle”.

Terblanche has submitted a special petition to Thandi Modise – chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) – to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997).


News 24