India Among 90 Countries without Paid Paternity Leaves: UNICEF Report
A new UNICEF analysis placed India among the 90 countries in the world without national policies that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, Economic Times reported.
Furthermore, the analysis also noted that almost two-thirds of the world’s children under the age of one (nearly 90 million) live in countries where there is no provision or bill about paternity leaves, meaning that new fathers are not entitled to even a single day of paid paternity leave.
Citing India as an example, where lawmakers are proposing a Paternity Benefit Bill which might be tabled in the next Parliament session, allowing fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave, UNICEF noted that family-friendly policies were growing around the world.
Livemint quoted UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore who mentioned the importance of interaction with both fathers and mothers from the very beginning for any child, said, “Positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers from the very beginning helps shape children’s brain growth and development for life, making them healthier and happier, and increasing their ability to learn. It’s all of our responsibility to enable them to fill this role”.
UNICEF also quoted evidence and research based on how fathers’ bonds with their newborns from the very beginning play a crucial role in the child’s development, leading to better psychological health, self-esteem and life satisfaction in the long-term. It also urged governments to implement national family-friendly policies including paid paternity leaves, that help provide parents with the time, resource and information needed for their child’s care.
Additionally, UNICEF also informed that eight countries around the world including the United States, which are home to nearly four million infants, have no paid maternity or paternity leave policy. Countries with high infant populations like Brazil and Congo, all have paid paternity leave policies, although they only offer relatively short-term entitlements.
Leading by example, UNICEF earlier this year implemented 16 weeks of paid paternity leave across all its offices, making it the first United Nations agency to extend such leave beyond the standard four weeks, The Indian Express reported.
Running second consecutive year, this analysis by UNICEF is done under the “Super Dads” campaign which aims at enabling fathers to play an active role in the development of their growing children. While celebrating Fathers’ Day, this campaign highlights the significance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the overall development of the child.
Also published on Medium.