Today’s Editorial: What about paternity leave?

POSTED: 03/11/11 4:51 PM

It is with interest that we take note of the planned changes to the Civil Code highlighted by Professor Mr. Jan de Boer at an information session on Thursday. One that jumps up is that young people can go to court to establish paternity and that a woman’s right to maternity leave will go from 12 to 14 weeks. These two clauses give more power to the children and the mother, but what about the rights of the father.
One thing that seems to have escaped the authors of the new code is the concept of paternity leave, which is popular in Europe and is possible in two countries that St. Maarten has close ties with. For example the Netherlands gives father two days with full salary. The French, who also have territory on this friendly island of ours, give their men three days before birth and 11 consecutive days after the child is born.
Paternity leave is also possible here in the Americas, in Africa, in the Asia Pacific region and at the United Nations. The latter gives its staffers four weeks with full salary if the person can see their family and eight weeks for staffer who cannot live with their family.
The argument of course is that men don’t have to go through the pain of child birth, but there must be recognition that fathers too must take time to bond with their children. Failing to promote that realization will leave us in current cycle of dead beat dads, who walk away, because there is nothing really that connects to the child than unseen strands of DNA.

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