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Nigeria joins Kenya, Mauritius, approves paternity leave for workers



1min read

THE Nigerian government has approved paternity leave for married male employees.

The country joins Kenya, Mauritius, and a few other countries in Africa that have allowed men engaged by the government to support their wives at home after giving birth.

While other African countries approved between five and ten days for their workers, the Nigerian government gave 14 days for paternity leave.

Head of Civil Service of the Federation Folasade Yemi-Esan announced the decision on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting.

She said the leave would enable fathers to unite with their babies shortly after they are born, adding that allowing fathers to stay with their wives and newborns would improve bonding and increase support for mothers.

 The approval came after the House of Representatives had in 2018 rejected a bill that sought paternity leave for married men.

The Federal Government had in June 2018 increased maternity leave from three months to four.

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Meanwhile, nursing mothers got six months leave through Governor Seyi Makinde in November 2020. The state government also promised to grant paternal leave.

The Lagos State government had in 2014 approved ten days paternity leave.

Similarly, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had in 2015 approved three weeks paternity leave for the state civil servants.

Multiple news platforms report that Kenya, Mauritius, Gabon, Cameroun, Chad, Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Togo have paternity leave for married men.

Kenya approved two weeks, but the employer must recognize the wife. 

Mauritius gives five successive working days leave.

Paternity leave in the remaining countries is covered in family allowance leave or what is considered ‘family events concerning the worker’s home.’ Married men in these countries can take up to ten days of paid leave.

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In Ethiopia, married men can take up to unpaid five-day leave.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the amended Labour Relation and Labour Amendment Act in November 2018, enabling married men to proceed on a ten-day unpaid leave. The law, however, came into effect in November 2019.

The World Atlas shows that countries with the longest-paid paternity leave are South Korea (52.6 weeks), Japan (52 weeks), France (28 weeks), Luxembourg (26.4 weeks), Netherlands (26.4), Portugal (21.3), Belgium (19.3), Norway (14 weeks), Iceland (13 weeks), Sweden 10 weeks) 

“A year’s worth of paid paternity leave ensures ample development of the child physically and mentally before their fathers return to work,” the platform says of South Korea. 

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