Paternity leave would be beneficial

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2011, 12:00am


I am writing in response to the letter 'Give firms paternity leave subsidy' (South China Morning Post, October 24).

I agree. The government should give companies a paternity leave subsidy. Mothers already have 10 weeks' paid leave after giving birth. Fathers play an important role in raising children and they, too, should be encouraged to stay home and take care of mother and baby. Yet, at the moment, they don't have this option.

Government-subsidised paternity leave would greatly benefit both parties. Employees would return to work in good spirits after their paid leave and their productivity would likely increase. And the relationship between employers and employees would improve.

We should follow the example of countries like Denmark, Finland and France by funding paternity leave.

Suki Tong Shuk-wun, King Ling College

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Suki. The days when women were the only ones responsible for raising their children are, happily, long gone in developed nations. These days, many men want to be as involved in their child's upbringing as the mothers.

In pregnancy, women produce chemicals that help them bond with their unborn baby. This means when the child is born, they have a natural connection. But studies have shown that fathers who spend time with their babies when they are very young develop better, long-lasting bonds, too.

What's more, if a father is able to take some time off when a baby is born, he can take on some of the responsibilities, such as bathing the infant and preparing food, that the new mother would usually do. Then the mother will be able to get some crucial rest, while the father will have a better idea of how much work is needed to take care of a child and hopefully contribute more to running the household.

Paternity leave is also an important way to promote equality between the sexes. A child should be the responsibility of both parents, not just the mother.

Karly, Deputy Editor