The Inequality In Paternity Leave
Intimate, family moments matched with a lively office environment to work in are some of the contributing elements towards a sound, employee performance. Particularly for males who are finding an outlet to happiness and kinship through paternity leave.
Some structures in society such as federal and few regional administrations have set a plug to pull like a switch in case the workers operating in these settings announce that their wives have been put to bed. A timeout is good for deeper ties within a family when the man is within reach during pivotal moments. Around the megacity of Lagos and in the busy finance industry, paternity leave is not clear cut, therefore more burden on a woman, relegated to tending to newborns alone. There would be no shortage of assistance and collaboration from close relations or friends yet all these personalities do not trump the presence of a dutiful, loving husband to offer emotional support.
In late September, the federal civil service updated its rule book to include 14 days of paternity leave so that workers can vacate their desks for a while to go be with their families. This would happen in the event of new birth or adoption in their homes. It is a well-thought-out move although it does not guarantee the envisaged benefits.
“It is based on personality,” says Cool FM on-air personality, Dotun ‘Do2tun’ Kayode. He thinks it improbable that a man’s temporary exit from the workplace for a fixed period would naturally bring about closeness within the household. Paternity leave, according to Do2tun, could encourage bonding and it might not. The main advantage of the timed departure, he adds, is that “you don’t leave the responsibility of taking care of the child to just the woman.”
Towards an equal society seeking fair treatment for all genders, “it is not a bad idea”. The radio presenter sees opportunities when “both parents can be at home and share responsibilities” but that’s not always the outcome. According to Do2tun, paternity leave and the assurance of bonding within a family looks shaky since it depends on the nature of those involved. The position they see themselves playing in their esteemed husband and father job.
“Some [men] might be at home and still not participate in the grooming of a child. We have people that are at home with their wife and are still not contributing. What I understand about the benefits of [paternity leave] is that it helps you as a dad to have a great relationship with the children and that is how it works.”
Despite the obvious benefits and central government making provisions for accessibility, time off from their duties for busy, male, eligible banking staff is not always pronounced. They would need to think up a hack if they are to be available through a crucial family moment such as childbirth. The post-pregnancy phase does not mean the end of a strenuous existence for the woman. This time, she has to be attentive to the newborn, anticipating their second-by-second needs.
Having to rely solely on their annual leave to be with their wives is a handicap for the staff needing the special privilege of paternity leave. It demands timing their application towards when partners will be due to deliver babies instead of time out to rest on a long vacation that could involve some travelling experience. The head of the commercial banking unit at Lagosbased Providence Bank wishes not to be named. When his wife was about to have their baby, he could recall planning a leave request around the birth.
According to the team lead, “paternity leave in the banking industry is just for five days” because less attention is being paid to this in the sector. This has resulted in some banks adding it to their policy while others don’t. When the privilege of special leave is not available, a banking staff can have “a discussion about it with your superior to say that your wife just put to bed” which can qualify them for a compassionate holiday.
To accommodate staff desiring time away from their workplaces so that they can perform essential spousal roles, “paternity leave should be properly documented as part of the policy of any organization”, the banking professional shared and drew attention to stronger practices observable in western countries.
In July 2014, Lagos approved 10 days of paternity leave so that workers in the civil service can access further opportunities to strengthen family bonds. Through such happy moments, they are creating new experiences with the latest addition to the household. The temporal freedom from work has also shown other benefits that favour the employer.
Work-life balance in an organization encourages the employees working there to offer the best result and going on leave is essential for bringing this about. City officials “want to encourage officers to be productive” because being comfortable at the home front would yield efficiency at the workplace. They think that meeting this need, there is a high tendency that an officer would turn in their best work. While the advantages of adequate staff welfare are obvious, the onboarding of those who are eligible remains scanty. So far, steps being taken by policymakers towards healthier workplaces are unusually more pronounced compared to the private sector establishments.