Opposition Leader Mark Golding, speaking with TVJ's 'All Angles' host Dionne Jackson Miller
Opposition Leader Mark Golding has shared details of the legislative strategy he plans on using to implement paid paternity leave and improve maternity leave if the People's National Party (PNP) returns to power.
This includes making it mandatory for employers to institute certain privileges at the workplace.
Speaking last weekend at the PNP's annual conference, Mr. Golding promised to introduce law to establish paid paternity leave and modernise maternity leave.
He said worldwide standards have changed and this is the direction the party is prepared to take.
The International Labour Organization standard for maternity leave is 14 weeks paid leave, while in Jamaica, the law mandates eight weeks paid leave and four weeks unpaid leave.
Speaking Wednesday night on TVJ's All Angles, Mr. Golding explained that the PNP would adopt international standards because they are progressive.
He said Jamaica's current laws, which were implemented in the 1970s, were the "gold standard" at the time. However, with advancements in women's rights, the bar has been raised.
Mr. Golding proposed to match the international benchmark of 14 weeks with pay and "introduce a requirement...for fathers to also get the benefit of getting some time off with their newborn babies".
Asked about the possible push back from employers if an extended maternity and paid paternity leave policy is implemented, the Opposition Leader admitted this is possible.
However, he said these employers would have to be persuaded of the benefits of such a policy, including its importance "for the social fabric of the society, the cohesion of the society [and] for reducing crime and violence".
Mr. Golding suggested that if employers can be made to recognise that "it's in their interest as Jamaicans to see family life strengthened", then they will sign on to the policy as part of their corporate social responsibility.