Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong has called for support for the five-day paternity leave plan, urging all stakeholders to back the government as it seeks to push through necessary legislation.
In a blog post, Law emphasized that five-days is the only acceptable solution for the government in relation to extending the statutory paternity leave for working fathers, and not the seven-day proposal that some pan-democratic lawmakers have been pushing.
The two-day increment, though it may be not very ideal, is deemed the most feasible from the perspective of both the employers and employees, he said, urging all parties to respect the consensus.
The remarks came a week after the Legislative Council’s bills committee finished the scrutiny process for the proposal to increase the statutory paternity leave from three to five days.
Law noted in his article that the initiative represents one of two most significant welfare policies of the current administration, the other one being scrapping the so-called MPF offsetting mechanism.
Explaining the rationale behind the move to provide more paternity leave, Law, citing international studies, noted that if fathers get more time to care for and teach their children, it can have positive effects on the kids’ health and wellbeing.
Also, fathers taking more parenting duty can help relieve mothers from some of their burdens, and reduce the risk of postnatal depression in the partners, Law added, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
LegCo will continue the second reading of the bill in October. The government hopes to put the proposal into practice by February 2019, when the Chinese will celebrate the Lunar New Year.