The maternity and paternity leave bill has been under discussion since 2018.
This bill was introduced to aid working parents so that they can be parents without having to choose between their careers or their children.
For the first 6 months to a year, children are highly dependent on their mothers.
Especially the ones that are breastfed. These babies need their moms around them all the time. For a woman who’s just had to go through the exhausting process of a full term pregnancy and giving birth has to now switch to an entirely different way of life to take care of her baby now that it’s out in the world.
Moms can’t do this alone.
With the ever increasing amount of c-section births, moms are now also recovering from a huge operation. These moms need support. Support from the other parent in the equation and Fathers need time to take care and bond with the child too.
Fathers in Pakistan usually get about ‘3’ days off when their baby is born.
Only 3 days to bond with their baby.
This is insane. To expect new dads to continue working the same way when they’ve had a huge change in the house is inhumane.
Usually, postpartum women are dealing with their own healing and dads step up to do the initial baby care, if dads are only given 3 days. That gives them only 2 nights to do any dad duties.
What does this do?
It only creates a world where all the dads are tired, they’re still going to have to be a dad, still going to have to wake up to the 3 am cries – the only difference is that their work will suffer. Unless they quit working they can’t fully be good at either.
This is unfair.
Under the new bill that the senate has just passed for Islamabad:
Mothers are to get a 6 month paid maternity leave. Which is twice of the 90 day leave they got. They are supposed to also be given the option to extend the leave by another 6 months, the extension is unpaid.
Fathers are to get a 3 month paid paternity leave.
Which beats the 3 day leave by a long shot. They can extend this leave by another month, the extension is unpaid.
Moreover, the establishments cannot discriminate against the parents in any way if or when they try to avail the leave.
The government opposing the bill argued that a leave this long isn’t allowed anywhere in the world and that 90 days are enough for mothers.
Even though this isn’t the case, countries like Estonia grant mothers an 80 week maternity leave.
Why is it that the working environment in Pakistan makes it so that the parents will one day have to choose between being a good parent or a good employee. When most adults go on to become parents, why is it that we still haven’t found a way where children don’t suffer the consequences of having working parents?
Policies like these make room for the narrative that “taking care of kids is only a mothers job” or that “fathers aren’t important for anything but providing money for their families”
What do you think? Is it about time the parental leave laws of Pakistan are reformed for good?