PRESS STATEMENT | LHR representing friends of the court in parental leave case

Date: 21/08/2023

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) will be representing the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, Solidarity Centre of South Africa, the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network, and Labour Research Service this week at the Johannesburg High Court as amicus curiae (collectively, amici), or “friend of the court.” The matter will be heard between 23 and 25 August 2023.

The case, Werner van Wyk and others v Minister of Employment and Labour, is a challenge to Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 provisions which the applicants state unfairly discriminate against fathers and other non-birthing parents by limiting the definition of maternity leave to birthing mothers.

This week, LHR acts as attorneys of record to the abovementioned amici with Advocate Jatheen Bhima acting as counsel in the presentation of oral submissions to the Court. The submissions of the amici focus on international law instruments and norms relating to gender equality, non-discrimination, child rights and the rights of families in the context of parental leave, as well as trends in other countries relating to parental leave.

The amici seek to draw the Court’s attention to these international and comparative trends which support the move from a scheme of maternity benefits for a child-rearing parent, to one of robust equality and non-discrimination both between a child-bearing and non-child-bearing parent as well as for non-traditional parents who still carry the responsibility of child-rearing, such as adoptive and surrogacy commissioned parents. The submissions will focus on the rights of families to have the liberty to decide what caregiving plan is in their best interests, and in the best interests of their child.

The matter will be heard by the Deputy Judge President from 23-25 August 2023 at the Johannesburg High Court.

For more information, contact:

Kayan Leung, Head: Strategic Litigation Programme

LHR Johannesburg office

Tel: 011 339 1960

Thank you for joining
Thank you for joining the LHR Newsletter, we will be in touch soon