Fathers ‘shouldn’t get leave for out-of-wedlock children’

A leading grouping of employers in Zambia has asked the government to restrict paternity leave to children born to women registered as spouses.

The suggestion from the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) is aimed at limiting the number of times men take paternity leave.

Harrington Chibanda, the ZFE executive director, says there should be a restriction on how many times married men get paternal leave.

If passed, those who are not married would not get any leave.

Zambian labour laws are currently being reviewed.

He told the BBC:

“Men being men, they can have children with any woman and just go to their employer to ask for paternity leave. But what we’re saying is that such paternity leave must only be granted to men who have registered their spouses with the employer.
“With women, it’s different because once they’re pregnant you can see they are pregnant because they carry the pregnancy for nine months. But with men, there are no ways of cross-checking.”

He dismissed suggestions that the proposal was discriminatory:

“The whole idea is to avoid a situation where men will just wake up and say: ‘I have a child and I want to go on leave’ because each time they’re out of work, work suffers.
” Even those in polygamous marriage have to register their spouses. That’s what we are saying.”

Labour Minister Joyce Simukoko has said the government will look into the proposal.