JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, has said that the Government is currently reviewing the Maternity Leave Act, to support the promotion of gender equality in the workforce.
Speaking recently at the launch of the International Labour Organization (ILO) /United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on work and family, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Mr. Charles noted that historical experience has placed women at a disadvantage, but the Government would not support discrimination.
“I wish to categorically state that, we will not accept any form of discrimination, as discrimination in any form is reprehensible. We therefore join the ILO in promoting the equality of all women in the workplace, and the health and safety of the mother and child,” he said.
Under the Maternity Leave Act, women are entitled to leave with pay and protection from dismissal, wholly or partly on the grounds of pregnancy, and the right to return to work after giving birth.
The Minister emphasised that greater attention must be given to the impact family demands have on pregnant women, and how this affects their work and their interaction with their families.
“The family is unquestionably of great significance to the development of Jamaica. It takes strong families to build strong communities and by extension, a stable country. The family is the most important social agent in the society, yet our families are seemingly in crisis,” he pointed out.
Mr. Charles said that the Government is aware that co-responsibility involves both men and women, noting that in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, men are provided with paternity leave, and that this would be worth examining.
He stated that his Ministry is committed to providing the necessary framework to empower the Jamaican family unit, through social programmes.
The ILO/UNDP Report titled: ‘Work and Family: Towards new forms of reconciliation with social co-responsibility’, makes policy recommendations on how to advance towards more decent work, from a human rights perspective.
ILO is the tripartite United Nations (UN) agency that brings together Governments, employers and workers from its member states to promote decent working conditions.

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