Mon | Mar 8, 2021

Think before you speak

Published:Saturday | December 7, 2019 | 12:18 AM


Mr Owen Speid, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), in his blindside against paternity leave, stated that “it will only give deadbeat fathers a chance to get leave and do no bonding with the child. Mothers will need an extra month because they are more inclined to care for and spend more quality time with newborns than dads”.

I suspect that if Mr Speid were to exercise his cerebrum before opening his mouth, he would realise that maternity and paternity leaves are not mutually exclusive benefits. Maternity leave can be extended and paternity leave can be granted simultaneously. Furthermore, child-bonding is not the sole construct of paternity leave. Support of spouses/girlfriends is of equal importance.

Dr Raymoth Notice, in support of Mr Speid’s position, was quoted as saying that “he would only support it where the father is in a stable relationship, preferably in marriage”. He then went on to say that “the Jamaican fathers in the main would need three leaves per year and that does not make sense”.

Seriously? Jamaican fathers are going to impregnate multiple women in any given year to get time off from work? This does not make sense. The goodly doctor should appreciate that marriages do not necessarily translate to stability in relationship. In fact, there are many common-law unions that are far more stable than marriages. Additionally, I wonder if he has ever heard about safeguards against policy abuses?


The arguments of these gentlemen against paternity leave are rather unfortunate. That these supposedly educated men can litter our public space with such garbage is simply mind-boggling.

In my humble opinion, investigating the benefits of paternity leave to families and society, then weighing same against its attendant pitfalls would add greater value to the discussion.