MP Tamara Leonard submits law change to establish paternity leave

PHILIPSBURG--Fathers of newborn babies can expect two weeks of paternity leave and women an increase of six weeks maternity leave should a law amendment submitted to Parliament by Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard get the support of the legislature when it comes to a vote.
 
Paternity leave will be extended to all men who become a parent, whether or not he is married to the mother of the child. He will also be entitled to his wages for the proposed two weeks off. Currently there is no time-off provision for men in the law. Some companies, as a courtesy, give married men two days off after the birth of a child.
 
“Fathers are equally important in the development of a child. It is important that they also have the opportunity to be able to bond with the child. All of the burdens should not only come to the mother, so the father should get the opportunity to contribute,” said Leonard.
 
The existing labour law gives women 12 weeks of maternity leave.
 
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Treaty 184 stipulates the minimum for maternity leave at 14 weeks.
Leonard is of the opinion that 14 weeks is not sufficient and that further extended leave is a positive stimulus for bonding between mother and child.
 
Women are entitled to 100 per cent wages during maternity leave. Leonard wants this to be the same for the increased weeks.
Leonard, of the United People’s (UP) party, lodged her law amendment with the Secretariat of Parliament on Tuesday. The submission was ahead of a scheduled meeting with caretaker Labour Minister Emil Lee. The meeting, however, stalled due to no quorum.
 
The “Tamara Amendment” builds on the suggestions for changes to the labour law to benefit parents made by former MP Leona Marlin-Romeo.
 
The Daily Herald

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