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UNDP representative endorses paternity leave in Jamaica

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Bruno Pouezat, is encouraging Jamaica to grant paternity leave to working fathers of newborns, noting that the UNDP has adopted the gender inclusive policy in the Jamaica country office and across the world with good results.

“In our local office, men enjoy four weeks of paternity leave with full pay to support the mother, and care and bond with the new-born child,” Pouezat was quoted as saying in a release.

“We encourage Jamaica to implement paternity leave because UNDP staff, men and women, can testify that paternity leave improves family life and boosts male responsibility,” he added.

Pouezat was addressing the Amazing Men Awards ceremony in honour of International Men's Day on Monday at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters, where four men from UNDP's Rejuvenating Communities Social Cohesion project were honoured, along with a number of men's groups.

In lauding the Amazing Man Awards, Pouezat said prevailing negatives must not be allowed to overshadow those men making a positive difference.

“It is important to signal to men who are doing the right thing that we see them, we appreciate them, and we need more of them,” he concluded.

The majority of sentiments expressed in a 2011 survey conducted by the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) were that men should be granted paternity leave in order to bond with their children, and provide critical support to mothers.

But there were some people who were wary of the proposal, expressing the view that men would use that time to their personal advantage instead of assisting with their newborns; or that some men with multiple newborns would abuse the provision.

The only country in the English-speaking Caribbean which grants paternity leave is The Bahamas. It grants one week of unpaid, family related leave.

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