More paid paternity leave would benefit all of Hong Kong society

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 8:38pm

I refer to Zhuang Pinghui’s article, “Will more paid leave encourage parents to have more babies? Most Chinese provinces think so” (October 17).

Looking at data on paternity leave around the world, I found myself wondering why Hong Kong allows only three days of paid leave, which is far lower than some countries? In my opinion, more paid leave is needed for new fathers.

The pace of life in Hong Kong is fast, and most citizens focus on long working hours in a bid to earn more. This is true especially of employers, which is why paid paternity leave days in Hong Kong are so few.

However, the most frustrating thing is that a lot of research into this topic often goes ignored. Such studies illustrate how beneficial paid parental leave can be not only for the couple concerned, but also for children, society, and companies as well.

More paid leave could increase the incentive to work, as fathers would be able to take the time they need to bond with their babies and return to their jobs feeling confident and ready.

Also, employees who have been able to get paid paternity leave may feel greater loyalty towards their employers.

Besides, getting paid time off can also bring mental health benefits for new fathers. The babies and even older children can benefit if the leave is used for a family trip.

Such paid leave lets a new father immerse himself in parenting duties, and also spend more time with their wife and older children. This can enhance child development and improve marital relationships. It seems that more paid leave can help the entire family’s mental and physical health.

I hope the government can move to increase the paid paternity leave allowed to Hong Kong workers, in order to benefit the whole of society.

Era Siu Nok Yin, Tseung Kwan O