THE Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children has warned employers over shortening statutory paternity leave of male staff, whose wives deliver that it is against labour laws and employment standards.
Employment and Labour Relations Act 2004 and its regulations of 2017 provide for paid paternity leave for at least five days for a male staff, if this leave is taken within seven days of his child birth.
However, there are concerns that some employers especially in the private sector have been providing only three days and sometimes no leave to a male employee, regardless of proof of a baby born.
The revelation was made by Grace Moshi Assistant Director of Nutrition Services, during a media training at World Breastfeeding Week, adding that such practice affects the government and stakeholders towards enabling a healthier planet.
On her part, Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre Senior Nutrition Officer, Ms Mary Kibona, said that most employers were still adopting the 2016 regulations that provides only three days of paternity leave.
“Ideally it’s illegal for an employer to bar an employee from exercising his fundamental basic rights. We urge the media fraternity to help us raise awareness on this important requirement,” she noted.
According to Kibona a new born baby requires breast milk one hour immediately after birth, and thereafter the child must take exclusive breast milk for the first six months and proceed with infant food as well as milk in the next two years.
Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in early life, where experts at the United Nations Children organisation (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) argue that for a better breastfeeding, new mothers must be supported by spouses in which a paternity leave is granted. The world marks the breastfeeding week to help raise awareness on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, where Health Officials say it helps deliver health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both the baby and her mother.