Werner and Ika van Wyk has joined forces with Sonke Gender Justice to take South Africa’s labour laws to court.
Their aim is to get more paternity leave for new fathers.
According to Sections 25 and 26 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, mothers are given four months off for maternity leave while fathers only get 10 days off for family responsibility leave.
The van Wyks argue that the Act unfairly discriminates against fathers.
The couple, from Limpopo, became parents in April. They decided that Werner will stay at home and look after the baby since Ika runs two small businesses that would have had to close for four months if she took maternity leave.
Werner applied as the primary caregiver for the equivalent of maternity leave, but his application was rejected on the basis that as a father, he was only allowed 10 days of parental leave.
EWN reports that Werner instead wound up having to take a six-month sabbatical, comprising two months of normal leave and four months of unpaid leave.
Together with the NGO, they’re asking to have the current definition of maternity leave changed so that it would include parental leave and caregiving leave.
Image credit: The New York Times