Thu | May 23, 2019

Paternity leave to take centre stage on November 19

Published:Thursday | November 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM

A consultation on paternity leave and other best practices towards parental leave for fathers will be the main event to celebrate International Men's Day (IMD) on November 19.

An annual global event, IMD focuses on men's and boys' health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.

The event, which will be held under the theme: 'Reinforcing Positive Male Role Models', is scheduled to take place at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters, Mona, Kingston, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

It is part of the Government's 'No Excuse for Abuse' #NEFA Public Education Campaign, aimed at reducing gender-based violence in Jamaica.

The event is being organised by the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), a division of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, Citizen Security and Justice Programme, Institute of Gender & Development Studies, and other stakeholders.


Findings of a research


Director, Policy and Research, BGA, Sharon Coburn Robinson, said the findings of a research done by the bureau will be presented at the event.

"We have had consultations around it. We have done research on the issue through the Jamaica Civil Service Association and at this point we want to produce and present the findings to a critical mass on November 19, and have conversations around it," she said.

The director said participants will be able to discuss the relevance of paternity leave, how it will affect them and how it should be handled.

"In some cases, persons think it should be a part of the Maternity Leave Act, but a lot of men we have spoken to do not want to have that. They want a separate policy and they want it to move to a place to have a policy and a bill passed," she added.

Public-sector trade unions have been asking Government to introduce a paternity leave policy in the country, similar to the Maternity Leave Act, which currently exists. According to the Maternity Leave Act (Act No 44 of 1979), which provides for maternity leave and regulations pertaining to pay, female employees are entitled to take maternity leave once they have been working with the same employer for at least a year.

Meanwhile, Robinson noted that a church service will be held on Sunday, November 18, at 9 a.m. at the Constant Spring Road Church of God, Kingston, to launch IMD. She said that partners of the bureau and other key stakeholders will attend the service.

Further, she said the BGA is planning an awards ceremony to recognise various men's groups and individuals, "who have done exceptional work in the gender landscape and who have been impacting communities and the lives of persons in different ways".