Expanding paternity leave in South East Asia
The benefits of paternity leave extend to parents, children and business. When fathers take paternity leave, mothers benefit through increased childcare support, additional time to heal after childbirth, additional emotional support, a reduction in stress and a smoother transition back to work.
The business case for paternity leave is also compelling. Paternity leave policies signal more supportive corporate cultures and lead to increases in commitment from employees. Businesses benefit from men taking paternity leave through improved attraction and retention of staff, which leads to productivity gains. Because paternity leave supports women’s attachment to the workforce, it can also assist governments in achieving their targets for improved female workforce participation.
Yet in spite of the benefits, research on paternity leave in OECD economies show that men may be reluctant to take leave, fearful that they will be stigmatised in their workplaces. This is also a concern expressed by men in Southeast Asia. But evaluations of paternity leave show that supportive organisational cultures and generous wage replacement rates can play a significant role in enhancing men’s uptake of the policy. Periods of ‘non-transferable’ leave and additional incentives paid to fathers who take paternity leave have been shown to improve uptake in Nordic countries and could be considered by Southeast Asian countries.
Source: East Asia Forum