JAMAICA-Paternity leaves for fathers of newborns to come into effect in January next year

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government says the proposed introduction of paternity leave for fathers of newborns and family leave for adoptive parents bringing a new child into the home is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2023.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Marsha Smith, also said that the proposed increase of paid maternity leave from 40 days to three months would commence on January 1.

“This is an opportunity for other Jamaicans who have the capacity and the ability to take on fostering to foster a child. If you are a public servant, you will be given that opportunity to get those weeks to settle that child in before you go back to work fully,” Smith told a public forum as part of Civil Service Week.

“This is why we are trying to modernize the public sector in real ways to meet the ways of public servants, not just in terms of compensation but also in overall quality of life,” she told the forum held under the theme ‘The Public Sector: Forging Ahead with Determination.’

The authorities said the initial results from the current public-sector compensation review would be facilitated by updating the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004. The compensation review is intended to overhaul the structure of salaries and other emoluments in the public service.

Smith said the aim is to ensure that public servants are compensated competitively with the local private, and international markets.

“These changes will ensure that we can retain the talent locally, which will ensure an efficient, simplified public sector,” she said, adding that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has reached an agreement with several trade unions representing public-sector workers on the restructured public-sector compensation system.

“I was thrilled last week when the Ministry of Finance, together with its union partners… were able to sign several memoranda of understanding, and these… cover approximately 60,000 employees, and we are well underway to seeing the entire public sector being transformed.

“The Minister of Finance… is committed to ensuring that we implement a public-sector compensation that is fair, transparent, and sustainable. He is determined to ensure that every public-sector worker is better off financially. To all public-sector workers, I say be patient; there is always some shifting around when there is transformation, but in the end, everything eventually settles down,” she said.

Smith praised all the unions that have “passionately” represented their members through the process, “and I acknowledge the trust they have shown in the Government by signing this agreement.

“For those who have not yet signed, I encourage you to do so. I am confident that this is a step in the right direction as we continue to change the various aspects of public-sector transformation,” she said.

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