Husbands will soon have a mandatory one-month paternity leave, while wives will have three more months of maternity leave. That's if proposals by Amnesty International are considered, and implemented by the government.
The proposal was tabled during a forum to discuss issues affecting career women and their responsibilities at home.
Even before the government will consider the new proposal, it has already approved at cabinet level a decision to increase the maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks.
These proposals if considered will have an impact not just on family bonds but on the corporate world, civil and public services.
Speaking at the forum, the Deputy Employment and Labour minister, Bright Wreko-Brobbey, said the new maternity protection bill will soon be laid before Parliament for consideration and subsequent approval.
If approved into law, it will complement existing international maternity conventions and the international maternity protection laws for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Bright Wreko-Brobbey who was excited about the new bill said there are existing provisions in the labour laws which seek to make nursing mothers a lot less stressful but many nursing mothers are unaware of these provisions.
Quoting Section 55 of the Labour Law the Deputy Minister said nursing mothers have been empowered a lot more than they know.
“If you give birth to twins you are entitled to more days of maternity leave,” he said, “I know many people don’t know this,” he added.
Discussants at the forum also called for breastfeeding corners for nursing mothers at work.
But the new proposals come with a potential cost to employers who risk losing at least six months of man hours, while still paying for the nursing mother in question.
One of the discussants believes the new proposal will have dire consequences for employers.
“Every businessman has a motive. You put in your equity, you expect to have good returns. The fact that you take on an employee and for a whole period, that employee will be out and you pay her [is a problem]. If she is not paid, I don’t think it’s a big problem,” one of the discussants said.
Country Director for Amnesty International Robert Akoto Amoafo said their proposal is based on a research conducted in 2016 on breastfeeding among career women.
The research indicated that breastfeeding amongst career women was very low.
The research also indicated that men’s support for nursing mothers is largely low, hence the need for paternity leave.
Mr Amoafo was hopeful the stakeholders can work together to turn these proposals into law.
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