My maternity leave is almost coming to an end…

We have hit the three month milestone!  Can not believe that three months have gone by and maternity leave is just four months! (we would need to start toyi-toying right away in regards to this short peroid of leave. Six months would be suffice):)  Fathers in South Africa on the other hand, only get three workdays of paternity/family leave. Yes, this is true, not that I think some fathers are complaining.  Personally I feel that the longer you can spend time with your baby, the stronger the bond between parents and baby can become and the less stress and tired mommy is. Don’t get me wrong, bonding with other people is very important.  Also, it’s just more convenient if you are breastfeeding.  No need for constant pumping and sterilizing everything.  Ofcourse if your baby was born with a medical condition or premature, I think it would be great if fathers could assist for the first few weeks at home and I actually do think that there is a rather large amount of fathers wanting to help out during the first few weeks if not months.

If you are currently employed in South Africa, you are as mother entitled to four months of unpaid or paid leave, depending on your arrangement with your employer. You can then also apply for Unemployment Insurance (UIF) benefits, which just means the government will be paying you, depending on your income, a percentage of your current salary. Also this only applies if you have been employed for the last four years and also have been contributing to UIF. Now, to get these funds, you have to go stand in a line with one form, for the next four months, for probably an hour if not longer at the Department of Labour.  Luckily these days you can get assistance, like UIF- Hero.  I guess every little bit of income helps, nappies are not cheap you know…

I have decided to take six months leave.  My employer, whom himself is a father of two little girls, fully understands the responsibility of taking care of a new born baby and actually suggested that I take longer than four months leave with the reassurance that I will still have my position when I return to work. I will however not be receiving any income my last two months.  This ofcourse you can only do if you can afford to do it. But all in all its worth it.  I get to spend quality time with my Baby Girl and do not need to stress about her being at playschool, wondering if she is doing ok. This will only be happening next year. Oy Vay!


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