PETALING JAYA: The birth of a new family member is a significant milestone for both parents.
New bonds are formed and new responsibilities, distributed. There are a slew of things to do, from breastfeeding and pumping breast milk, to taking care of the newborn (and other children), preparing meals and cooking, and other household chores.
Having dad around to help with these new responsibilities is crucial in a household, and paternity leave encourages that to happen.
Many countries and companies worldwide have shown support and provided male workers with paid paternity leave.
However, paternity leave still lags behind the standard maternity leave.
Let’s look at how some countries fare in providing paternity leave for their workers in the private sector.
Fathers in Singapore get two weeks’ paternity leave for children who are citizens.
Employed mothers there can share their 16-week maternity leave with their husbands for up to an additional four weeks with the Singapore government fully funding parental leave.
In Australia, eligible working fathers and partners get two weeks’ leave, paid at the national minimum wage. This is paid directly to the employee by the Australian government.
However, the number of fathers who take paternity leave in Australia is very low.
In China, following a significant policy shift on family planning announced last year that allows married couples to have up to three children, the government introduced new employer-paid parental leave entitlements.
Chinese fathers get between five days to a month of paternity leave, depending on the region.
Indonesian fathers in the public sector get paid paternity leave for a month, while those in the private sector are eligible for two days of paid leave.
Thailand and Myanmar provide 15 days of paternity leave to fathers based on eligibility.
In Myanmar, the leave is funded by the country’s social security scheme, and fathers must have made at least six months of social security contributions in the 12 months before the child’s birth.
In the United Kingdom, new dads are entitled to up to two consecutive weeks of paternity leave, depending on how long they have been in their job.
The United States has no mandate for paternity leave. However, its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible American workers with 12 weeks of unpaid leave, where they face no threats to job security within that time.
While unpaid leave is deemed too expensive for most families to take, some US states have active paid parental leave policies.