The article gIves an overview of current South African law on family and maternity benefits and highlights a number of shortcomings, notably the exclusion of certain categories of women from maternity benefits. The discussion of family benefits deviates from the usual discourse in that it focuses not only on assistance to families in caring for their children but also on family care for the elderly.

The authors argue that caring for older family members places a heavy financial burden on working-age family members and particularly on women. Should the government's current strategy of regarding the family as the core support structure for caring for the elderly continue, it is suggested, appropriate support for families supporting elderly relatives should be forthcoming.

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