Parental Leave Bill Coming

Francis-Xavier Sosu


A new bill extending maternity leave from three to four months, introducing paternal leave for men, and providing for other ‘related matters’ in maternal health, such as the abolition of sanitary pad taxes, is currently being drafted.

The bill, which guarantees working parents immediate parental leave upon childbirth, is yet to be introduced in Parliament.

MP for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, who is proposing the new law to promote gender equality, stated that the three-month maternity leave is insufficient for women.

According to him, his private members’ bill will ensure that men who are left behind during childbirth have the right to a parental leave in such difficult moments.

Addressing the media following a postponed stakeholders’ engagement on the proposed bill, MP Sosu stated that women would be better protected against being laid off under the new rules.

He argued that currently, workers have limited protection against being dismissed when they are on maternity leave, which is also not enough for the wellbeing of women and the newborn child.

According to the new law, this protection will begin when a woman gives birth and continue until the child is four months old, with the possibility of men also taking a paternal leave between from seven days to four weeks.

“And sometimes, when there is a complicated birth, they can stay a little more with their wives,” Mr. Sosu said.

He explained that this is also key and important because, “unlike our organic society, where we used to have support from immediate family members, the truth of the matter is that things are changing.”

“Today’s stakeholders’ engagement was to consider parental leave for all as an extension of the maternity leave from three months to four months as well as provide for what I call “related matters” in respect of maternal health and consideration of the bill to remove the 15% import tax on sanitary pads.

“It has been rescheduled for Monday, March 4, 2024. This reschedule has become very necessary because tomorrow is the State of the Nation’s Address, and as a result of preparation towards it, there have been some logistics challenges,” he added.

According to the lawmaker, he was really excited to see the number of stakeholders that came out for the stakeholders’ engagement despite its postponement.

He intimated, “Fighting for just, free and fair societies do not just happen. You must have a determined number of people who are willing to sacrifice and keep pushing the limits until it happens.”

The MP said this bill on parental leave for all was initiated somewhere on October 23, 2023 and it has since received a lot of support from almost all the major stakeholders, including institutions that believe in gender parity.

“There have been several amendments and proposals since we initiated this bill.

“It has gone through processes in Parliament. The drafting Department of Parliament has done the fiscal impact analysis and it has been confirmed the bill has no fiscal impact and so it is good to pass, and it could be passed through a private member’s initiative,” he posited.

By Ernest Kofi Adu