Paternity leave proposal good, says NGO

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

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KUCHING, June 19: Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) supports the call for the private sector to implement three-day paternity leave.

SPA president Datuk John Lau said he strongly believed fathers need to be given more support as many young fathers were very involved in raising kids.

He was responding to Minister of Welfare, Community Well being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah’s call to the private sector to give their employees more paternity leave days.

However, Lau felt there was a need to set criteria.

“We, in SPA, propose that the child must be a Malaysian born in Sarawak, father is lawfully married to the child’s mother between conception and birth and have also served their employer for a continuous period of at least three months before the birth of their child,” Lau said in a statement today.

After the baby is delivered, SPA opined that a mother needs to take care of the newborn, but if she has other younger children, it will be very challenging to look after them.

“Thus, it is important for the father to be around during the first week when a new baby is born,” he added.

SPA also proposes for fathers to have six working days as paternity leave as the mother has 60 days maternity leave.

Ten per cent of the 60 days for the father will be fair.

Lau also believed that paternity leave would motivate the staff and increase their productivity; otherwise, physically they may be in the office but their mind is at home thinking of the newborn.

“For the on-going school children, it is always good for the father to drive them to school while the mother is looking after the newborn,” he said, adding that Singapore and Australia has two weeks of paid paternity leave for government officers. — DayakDaily