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Family Responsibility Leave

The term family responsibility leave is used in this article and on SimplePay. However, this is also sometimes referred to as compassionate or bereavement leave.

Leave Cycle

The BCEA provides that an employee’s family responsibility leave cycle is the 12 month period following their appointment date. SimplePay, therefore, uses the appointment date captured for each employee to determine their individual leave cycles.

However, some employers prefer to standardise this so that all employees are on the same leave cycle, e.g. 1 January to 31 December. Although this is not strictly correct, it shouldn’t be a problem as long as the employees are not receiving fewer leave days than the minimum entitlement below.


In terms of the BCEA, employees are entitled to three paid days per cycle, provided that they

  • have been employed for longer than four months; and
  • work at least four days a week for that employer

As with other leave types, this is only a minimum requirement and employers are free to agree to more favourable terms – either granting more days or extending this type of leave to employees who do not meet the above criteria.

By default, SimplePay calculates employees’ leave entitlement based on the above rules using their full days per week, as configured in their regular hours. It is, therefore, important that this has been correctly set up. Please see the following article for more detail:

Granting Leave

Employers are required to grant family responsibility leave in the following instances:

  • The employee’s child is sick
  • In the event of the death of
    • the employee’s spouse / life partner; or
    • the employee’s natural / adopted child / parent / sibling / grandparent / grandchild

Such leave may be taken as a half day if that is all that is needed. An employer is entitled to require proof of the event for which leave was taken, such as a medical / death certificate. Any supporting documentation received from the employee can be recorded on SimplePay using employee notes – please see the following section for more on this feature: