President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), O’Neil Grant, says the entity will be pushing discussions on the introduction of paternity leave in Jamaica.
Mr. Grant noted that fathers need time off from work at the birth of their children similar to the period provided for mothers under the Maternity Leave Act.
“Our men have been showing that they are responsible, and they want that responsibility to be recognised formally”— O’Neil Grant, President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA)
“We do recognise that our men have been showing that they are responsible, and they want that responsibility to be recognised formally. When we have children… we want to be there for them,” he said.
“We are lobbying for policies to be developed that are going to speak and lead to an institutional arrangement for paternity leave,” he added.
Mr. Grant said the JCSA will also be advocating for leave for adoptive parents.
He argued that adoptive parents should be given time off to bond with the child, noting that “this is akin to bringing a newborn into the world”.
“That child that is being brought into the home has an adjustment period, and both parents are needed to go into the adjustment period with them. It makes the integration of that child into the family setting easier,” Mr. Grant said.
“We want the law to recognise that adoptive parents, too, have the need for some time to bond with that new child coming into their space,” he added.
In the meantime, Mr. Grant said that the JCSA is looking to extend the period for maternity leave.
“Modern activities will say that it is not eight weeks of maternity leave that [new mothers] need. Some employers have actually gone beyond what the law prescribes because they recognise that what we have been educated about recovering from delivery is not an eight-week exercise,” he noted.