|By Simon Onyango|
All Kenyans, all workers, all civil servants are human beings and equal before the laws of Kenya and therefore should be treated equally despite the type or kind of job they are doing.
The new maternity leave adopted by the TSC ; Female teachers now eligible to fully paid 4 – months maternity leave, paternity leave for male teachers increased to 21 days and teachers who adopt children to enjoy 45 days exclusive of annual leave clearly indicates humanity and therefore should be implemented to all civil servants.
Parents, more so women, need ample time to commit to their young ones and even take care of themselves during and after pregnancy for them to have good health. According to scientists, maternity leave improves maternal and infant health, including physical health and well being. It also decreases rate of infant mortality, abuse of children less than 2 years of age and many more.
In Finland, maternity leave for women starts seven weeks before their estimated due date, after which the government covers 16 additional weeks of paid leave through a maternity grant, regardless of whether the mother is a student, unemployed, or self-employed. It also offers eight weeks of paid paternity leave.
After a child turns three, parents can also take partial care leave, in which they split time between home and work. That lasts until the child starts second grade.
In Denmark too, women get a total of 18 weeks maternity leave: four weeks before the birth and 14 weeks after, all at full pay. During the 14-week period, the father can also take two consecutive weeks off. From that point on, parents can split 32 additional weeks of leave however they see fit. They can extend the leave for another 14 weeks if the child or parent gets sick. By law, the government covers 52 weeks of pay, though not always at the full salary.
With the two examples, you can realize that the Governments of the two countries are so committed to ensure proper bringing up of the younger generation. Children need proper parental care and therefore, good and enough time needed for maternity leave.
Second point from the analysis is that, the benefits cover both civil servants and non – civil servants, no one is excluded. I therefore urge the government of Kenya to emulate the two countries and spread the new maternity leave adopted by TSC across all civil servants.