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Celebrate fathers: introduce paternity leave law

Published:Sunday | June 21, 2015 | 6:00 AMErica Virtue

Advocates Jamaica - an organisation committed to deepening youth participation in the Jamaican socio-political landscape - has rekindled the debate on paternity leave for Jamaican fathers.

In a contribution to mark today, which is being celebrated as Father's Day, the group argued that Jamaica could start honouring the country's fathers by passing legislation to provide paternity leave for men.

"Jamaican men have been castigated time and time again for their lack of presence in the home. Parents are not treated equally in Jamaica, and the buck must stop somewhere if we are to improve as a nation.

"There is a direct correlation between raising a stable, functional child and a father's presence in the child's formative years. Our boys need a father figure to emulate, and our girls need a standard to help guide their relationships with the opposite sex. Paternity leave will attack a single-parent regime and help to dismantle what is currently in place in Jamaica ... ," the group argued.

 

NECESSARY MOVE

 

Advocates Jamaica noted that mothers are granted leave according to the Maternity Leave Act (1979), as long as she works a minimum of 52 weeks which is required for eligibility.

That position has received support from Fathers United for Change, the Trench Town-based all-male organisation.

"It's necessary because there are more fathers taking up their responsibility and playing both the mother role and the father role,"said president of Fathers United for Change, Curtis Robinson.

"I am an older person now, but my mother, for whatever reason, she and my father were having problems and she handed me over, when I was six months old, to my father. There are situations like this going on in our society where a father ends up getting the child," added Robinson.

He was supported by Carlinton Emmanuel, who noted that there are many men solely responsible for their children.

"The time out is really essential to the youth to know that you spend time with him and grow him as how a mother would want to grow a youth. It is supposed to go both ways."

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com