The Labour Rights Institute despite having welcomed the promise made by the National Democratic Congress in their manifesto to extend maternity leave to four months has cautioned that the policy may lead to private sector employers shying away from engaging the service of women.In order to forestall such a situation, the institute has called for a discussion between labour stakeholders on the need for government to take up part of the cost employers may incur through a tax deduction agreement.
In a statement issued by its Executive Coordinator, Mohammed Affum, the LRI said the extension from three months to four months will be an improvement in line with the International Labour organizations Convention 2000, which grants a maternity leave of 14 weeks for mothers and additional two weeks where two or more babies are born.
The Institute emphasized that some private business employers do not engage women due to the cost incurred during maternity leave where a new person has to be employed to temporary fill up the vacancy.
“These practices are unfair as maternity should not constitute a source of discrimination in employment, including access to employment.” The LRI observed.
The Institute thus impressed on all stakeholders to recognize maternity protection measures.
“The body of the woman undergoes changes during pregnancy and childbirth and she needs a sufficient time to rest and for the body to heal as well as time to allow for exclusive breastfeeding to babies for their survival and healthy development to replenish labour for productive work,” the Institute stated.