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Gender equality

Hong Kong lawmaker opposed to paternity leave could be a blessing in disguise for unionists

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 12:00pm

I strongly suspect Tommy Cheung Yu-yan used reverse psychology on the issue of statutory leave for new fathers (“Mandatory paternity leave a mistake, pro-establishment lawmaker says”, August 9).

When the catering sector lawmaker said: “There shouldn’t be even one day of paternity leave”, I believe he meant it to be the ultimate in sarcasm aimed at the cruel bosses of his sector. His aim was to spur an outcry from the unionists and the community.

There is a wide consensus in society that paternity leave should be increased. This is so that the new father can have more time to take care of the mother and the newborn baby. Studies show that close support from family and the baby’s father reduces the chances of postnatal depression among women.

Just two more days of leave should not create a heavy burden on a company. Employers should be more caring. Providing two more days of paternity leave as a present to the family to celebrate the birth of a child is both legitimate and heart-warming. It will help boost worker morale and increase employees’ sense of belonging.

I believe Mr Cheung is not a mean and nasty Scrooge. He was just under pressure from his constituents. I quite appreciate his talent for triggering fierce outcries among his colleagues in the Legislative Council.

Give Hong Kong workers the benefits they deserve

Back in 2010, Mr Cheung earned the nickname “20 dollar Cheung” when he suggested a rate of HK$20 per hour for the minimum wage. I believe he deliberately sparked an outcry by doing so. This helped to put pressure on the sectors behind him and provoke a balanced debate.

At first, I despised him for heartlessly exploiting the working class. Now I kind of appreciate his subtle effort for the unionists.

Patrick Mak, To Kwan Wan