Friday, 20 May 2016


MEN may by the end of this year be able to take paid paternity leave so that they assist their spouses to take care of their new born babies, the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Tapiwa Matangaidze, has said.

Paternity leave is a period of absence from work granted to a father shortly before or after the birth of his child.

In Zimbabwe at the moment, only a baby’s mother can take leave after the birth of a child.
Matangaidze said although the draft Bill was yet to be presented to Cabinet, “it was common cause that men should be allowed to apply for paternity leave to care for their children just like what women do.”

In European countries like Sweden, paternity leave is clearly enshrined in their labour laws with vacations of more than one month being awarded to men to mind their children.
In England, Scotland and Wales, both parents can share the 52 weeks of maternity leave between them and paternity leave is paid at the same rate as maternity leave.

Responding to a contribution from Colletta Musara, a lecturer from Great Zimbabwe University, who said the government should also consider legalising paternity leave for a father to take care of his wife and child at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Midlands Chamber meeting in Gweru yesterday, Matangaidze said soon, men would be able to go on paternity leave.

He said the ministry was still working on a draft Bill before it becomes an Act of Parliament.
“Yes it’s been adopted that husbands can also apply for leave in cases of preference where they want paternity leave or the wife is incapacitated in one way or another and that should be promulgated into law.

“Paternity leave, yes I agree with you (Musara) because having a child is a responsibility of both parents. Maternity leave all along has been considered and we should now have paternity leave and that’s an option that’s available,” said the deputy minister.

“We’re working on that, it’s in the principles stages before it’s presented in Cabinet. As soon as possible the Bill has to go through principles, Cabinet and then come to Parliament.”
Musara said most fathers wish they could be more involved from the birth of a child, yet many lack the paternity leave they need to be with their family.

“A husband should take leave when his wife gives birth so that they both look after the baby.
“The father can also assist in looking after the baby. So there should be a law to legalise that,” she said.

Currently, female civil servants take a maximum of three months maternity leave which is paid.

Meanwhile, in a speech read on his behalf by Matangaidze, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the government was committed to creating a labour environment that promotes the ease of doing business and also attract investors.
“It must be noted that the ease of doing business is also affected by the quality of our infrastructure, strength of our institutions, utility availability and macro-economic conditions among other factors”, she said.

“In light of this, government has ensured the availability of electricity which had crippled most business operations. Through the Ministry of Transport, our highways have been improved with some still under construction.” chronicle


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