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Gov't facilitates discussions on paternity leave

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Government is facilitating discussions on the introduction of a Paternity Leave Act, to encourage shared parenting, support and mentoring.

Speaking at the International Men's Day forum yesterday at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe, said the Act is in line with the recommendations of the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE).

Paternity leave is defined as a job-protected period of leave for employed men, with income support provided in some cases. Paternity leave is a short period of leave for the father to take immediately following childbirth to help care for the child and assist the mother.

“In response to the discussions regarding the passing of a Paternity Leave Act or a Parental Leave Act to accommodate paternity leave, there will be consultations on the relevance of paternity leave to the Jamaican society and the parameters of the Paternity Leave Act,” he said.

“This is of major significance as the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport seeks to introduce paternity leave as a benefit to men as fathers as part and parcel of the Jamaican workforce. It is well established that for gender to be truly transformative, it has to be inclusive,” Thorpe said.

The NPGE outlines Jamaica's commitment towards gender equality and to providing an enabling environment for achieving the goals of fairness and socio-economic justice for women and men.

Meanwhile, Director for the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, endorsed the Paternity Leave Act.

“It is an amazing thing to see how it grows a man to grow his child and to be involved in every aspect of his child's development. Paternity leave is extremely important, because we want to shift the paradigm that says it is the mother's job. It is both parents' job,” she said.

Participant at the event, Davian Williams, said the celebration of men is important, as positive male influence is important in the society.

“A lot of times, male role models are not put forward, while females are reinforced. I think male role models play an important role in society, and this will help to change the norm of society and inspire men to want to be good role models and good examples for youth. It feels good to know that men on a whole are being praised for doing positive things,” he said.

Meanwhile, father of five, Lindon Baldwin, said men should get paternity leave because they play an important role in the development of their children.

“They should be with the mother and the child during the early stages of life to give support and for the bonding and nurturing, so that children can develop to be well-adjusted adults in society,” he said.

International Men's Day is celebrated globally on November 19. This year, it is being observed under the international theme 'Positive Male Role Models'. It focuses on men's and boys' health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.

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