NEWS

Praise For Govt’s Policy

The FijiFirst Government’s new initiative to allow fathers of newborn babies to take five-days paid paternity leave came into effect yesterday and this has already been welcomed by women who
02 Jan 2019 10:22
Praise For Govt’s Policy
Balbir Singh 33, wiith his new born baby girl at Colonial War Memorial Hospital labour ward on January 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The FijiFirst Government’s new initiative to allow fathers of newborn babies to take five-days paid paternity leave came into effect yesterday and this has already been welcomed by women who delivered babies on New Year’s Day.

When this edition went to press, 22 babies were born on January 1 and a few more were expected to be delivered.

Labasa mother Masilima Mato said she could not wait to have her husband, Isoa Rokololo, by her side to look after their baby girl.

The 34-year-old mother of Nadogo, Macuata Province, was the first and the only mother to deliver a baby weighing 3.3kg around 1.35am at Labasa Hospital yesterday.

Although this is her fifth child, Mrs Mato said she was happy because her husband would get five days paternity leave to look after the baby while she recovers at their home in Vunika, Labasa.

“I was a working mother before when I delivered my first child at the age of 25, but times were different as we used to get 84 days leave and husbands had no privileges,” Mrs Mato said.

“My husband is a service technician with the Water Authority of Fiji.”

Mr Rakololo, 36, was at home looking after his other children.

He said: “Thanks to the Government for such initiatives, which really release the burden of worrying about kids and household chores which can be managed by husbands as wives recover.

“Now I am a father of three girls and two boys and this time things will be different,” Mr Rokololo, 36, said.

In Suva, second-time father Balbir Singh, 33, is happy he will use his new paternity leave and not his annual leave to spend time with his daughter.

His wife, Shalvina Chandra, 31, delivered his second child – a healthy baby girl weighing 3.7kg yesterday.

Three years ago, when Mr Singh’s wife gave birth to their first child,

he had taken his annual leave to spend time with his now 3-year-old son.

“All my family members are in the West, so this five day leave for me will give my relatives ample time to travel from Nadi to Suva,” he said.

“When I had my first child, I was lucky enough to have my annual leave hence was able to look after my kid and wife at home.”

Mr Singh said that it is a good initiative of Government to increase maternity leave from 84 days to 98 days because his wife is a working mother.

“This way, mothers will be able to spend more time with their child and they will not reach a point of quitting their jobs,” he said.

The 33-year-old said he thanked the Government for thinking about all the fathers and mothers out there.

Another mother, 29-year-old Rini- eta Silika who gave birth to her third child on New Year’s Day yesterday, was happy about the benefits she would receive.

She works as a security officer at MaxVal-u supermarket in Suva.

“I am happy to spend extra two weeks with my baby at home,” she said. This will give me time for myself as well.”

Ms Silika said the five-day paternity leave gives her husband an opportunity to spend time with their newborn.

Edited by Epineri Vula



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