Should fathers get paid paternity leave?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am

Share

Elaine Yu Yee-nee, 15, Creative Secondary School

Spending time with your family, especially at a time when a new member has just arrived, is just so wonderful!

However, as breadwinners, fathers might not have the chance to experience that happiest period in life. They simply have to work.

In a modern society where we advocate equality, why shouldn't fathers be entitled to paternity leave just as mothers are entitled to maternity leave?

A father is a vital part of a family. He is just as important in the home as a mother. It is very unfair, therefore, that fathers can't get paid paternity leave.

Granting fathers paid paternity leave won't make for an economic catastrophe. On the other hand, without paid paternity leave, many fathers can't afford to stay home without a regular income.

Many new mothers are liable to suffer from depression - especially if they are left alone without their husbands. They simply need their husbands to love and care for them.

Even though some families are wealthy enough to hire a maid or babysitter, there's nothing like having a daddy around to look after the newborn.

Not paying fathers for paternity leave is essentially telling them not to stay home with their families but to continue working.

Lawmakers and employers should think of fathers-to-be and understand their circumstances.

Getting paid paternity leave not only enables fathers to experience the loveliest moment in life, it can also help them become both better parents and better employees at the same time. Therefore, fathers should get paid paternity leave.

Ronald Ling Pak-ki, 20, University of Hong Kong

In his last policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen proposed giving paid paternity leave for male employees.

The government will take the lead in responding to that call by providing such leave for civil servants from next year.

I am a male and I ask for a deep re-think on this policy.

The policy tries to provide incentives for fathers to take some time off work after the birth of their baby so they can stay home and look after the mother and child.

The policy seems like a logical and beneficial step.

The question is: is paid paternity leave really necessary?

So long as a father really wants to stay home after his wife gives birth, he can already do so.

He can take his usual annual leave, or he can ask his boss to let him work flexible hours for a period.

It does make sense for employers to provide flexible work arrangements to employees during such times.

As a result, I believe that such arrangements would be a better option for fathers who really want to spend more time with their family.

Simply providing paid paternity leave cannot really promote a sense of family among males.

Rather than advocate paid paternity leave, the government should instead promote the importance of family life and the obligation of fathers to care for their wife and newborn child.

It won't help much to turn the natural state of fatherhood into a concept where fathers are encouraged to stay home with their wife after childbirth by getting paid to do it.