maternity leave

Reps blocks paternity leave Bill

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has rejected a bill for an act to provide the option of paternity leave to all married male employees in private and public sectors.

Unfortunately, the bill failed to garner enough votes to scale through its second reading during plenary.

The bill, sponsored by Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau), intended to create a legal framework to provide optional paternity leave to married men when they welcome a new child.

The bill would have also provided a procedure for the application and grant of paternity leave, as well as penalties for violations of the provisions of the bill.

In his lead debate, Pwajok noted that paternity leave is alien to the Nigerian Labour system, even though a few states like Lagos and Enugu already allow 10 and 21 days, respectively, for men to go on paid leave when their spouses give birth.

He also acknowledged Access Bank Nigeria as the only notable private firm to make this stride in allowing paternity leave.

He added that nations such as Denmark, UK, Iceland, and Australia have all made progress by recognizing the role of men in child upbringing, noting that granting maternity leave to women and refusing men the opportunity constitutes as discrimination against men.

While the bill enjoyed support from some members, the opposition came from Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) who argued that the both men and women go through different forms of pain in raising children.

He added that the bill does not represent the needs of the people and urged that the bill be thrown out.

When the Speaker put the bill to vote, the “nays” had it.

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