The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) is proposing a bill to allow parents of adoptive or surrogate children to be granted 10 weeks parental leave.
The law, if passed, would apply to same-sex couples, something which the party said it begrudgingly had to accept.
ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley explained that the proposed legislation did not mean that the party now supports same-sex adoption.
“Homosexual adoption is not ideal but we [are] doing this at a time when it is legal. I didn’t make it an LGBTI issue. Parental leave applies to everybody,” she told the Sunday Times.
The bill acknowledges that parents need time off work to be able to bond with their children. It aims to grant adoptive or surrogate parents at least 10 consecutive days leave from the day the child is born or the day the adoption order is granted.
Under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, only pregnant female employees are entitled to at least four consecutive months of maternity leave. It does not address leave for fathers or non-biological mothers, other than allowing for three days of family responsibility leave following the birth of a child.
In March, a Durban labour court gave a gay father paternity leave equal to the maternity leave granted to biological mothers. It found that it is discriminatory to refuse to give a male member of a same-sex couple who is the main caretaker of a child the equivalent maternity leave given to biological mothers.
Judge David Gush stated that the basis for granting parental leave was not just to assist a recovering biological mother but also in the best interest of the child’s development.
The man’s employer, the State Information Technology Agency, is appealing the decision.
The ACDP is known for its anti-gay views, and in July supported UCT’s then SRC Vice-President, Zizipho Pae, who described the US Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage as “institutionalising and normalising sin”.
The party previously blocked LGBT-affirming motions in Parliament; one congratulating South Africa’s Francois Nel for winning Mr Gay World in 2011 and another in May in support of the country hosting Mr Gay World and condemning homophobia.
The ACDP also voted against the passage of the Civil Union Bill that legalised same-sex marriage in 2006.