Gov’t senator advocates for shorter workweek
GOVERNMENT Senator Dr Saphire Longmore is calling for legislative changes in Jamaica to facilitate a shorter workweek so that families can spend more quality time together.
Longmore, who was making her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate last Friday, pointed out that, according to studies, the average family spends only 36 minutes each day together, and argued that a four-day week would allow for greater family bonding.
“As we consider that time is very precious for family, perhaps we need to start considering legislating for more time for family,” said Longmore.
She added that there is research-based evidence showing the effectiveness of a four-day workweek in improving productivity, reducing violence, and addressing behavioural issues in children.
“I know that is a stretch…but the truth is that as we consider solutions and healing what has had a generational setting we must consider protecting our children at all costs, and protecting the future of our children at all costs.”
According to Longmore, in her personal life she has sought to assist her domestic workers by rotating them so that they can spend more time with their families.
“For years now I’ve come to appreciate that I cannot have a single helper be with me Monday to Friday. Why? Because she has a family; she needs time to go and spend her time with her family. So, I devised a system where I have one person come this day, one person come [that day], and what I find [is that] it works beautifully because they need to attend to their own children, their own obligations for life,” said Longmore who also used her address to call for more support for single mothers, especially those going through post-partum issues.
“When I reflect on the health implications, the post-partum period, in my experience, this is one of the most tumultuous periods in a mother’s…life…The hormonal changes create havoc.
“Apart from having our fathers registered and being more actively involved, [there needs to be more] support for our single mothers in a generational way that is connected — online forums, homework clubs, community focus. Use technology to enhance the support for our single mothers during that time,” Longmore told the Senate.
She, however, urged mothers not to use access to the children as a tool of revenge against the fathers.
“If you and the dad not making it work, the child is the priority and the child’s development is the priority. Let us not use access and the healthy development of our children as a tool of revenge in the pursuit of a resolution of your relationship,” advised Longmore.