Today I start the biggest fight of my life. I am taking on the South African Government.
I am not an activist. I am not a politician but I am a parent and that’s may be even more important.
My mother fought my battles all my life. Today I fight for my own child.
I have told my story about how I realised that adoption leave is not included in the basic labour laws.
South African labour law does not explicitly provide guidelines for maternity and paternity leave for parents who have adopted a child. This is at the discretion of an employer.
This had led to some parents having to return back to work mere days after becoming a parents.
Employers have taken advantage of this loophole and have created internal policies that can vary from 3 days to 4 months. Depending on how much the parents fight. This is a fight we should not have to have. If the child is older than 2 years then you are penalized even further. Even in government departments new mothers are expected to return back to work after 45 days.
Maternity/Paternity leave is a time to bond with your child and should be the right of ALL parents regardless of how we choose to parent.
Adoptive parents vote and are law abiding citizens. Adoptive Parents pay taxes and add to the coffers of government. Adoptive parents play a very important role as we also relieve the burgeoning child homes and relieve pressure on the already stressed grant departments
I have set out my reasons that adoption leave is very important.
- Adopted Children may come from an abusive situations and may have zero trust in adults. Time is needed to develop a bond and to instil trust in adults.
- An adopted child will need time adjust to their new homes and surroundings before being placed in another environment.
- Adoptive children coming from group homes may be exposed to numerous transient volunteers and will need time to understand that their mother and father is a permanent fixture
Rushing to put an adoptive child in day-care or with a nanny may lead to the child feeling abandoned yet again could be counterproductive. We are also expected to adjust to night feeds and be productive which may lead to disciplinary action or resentment in the workplace.
Please support us by signing and sharing this petition so that we can show the government that adoptive children and parents deserve the same opportunity bond just like their peers!