Jamaica to increase maternity leave, introduce leave for new fathers and adoptive parents

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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke,  opening the 2022/23 budget debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 8 [Photo: Adrian Walker]

By Alecia Smith

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The government of Jamaica is increasing paid maternity leave from 40 days to three months, and for the first time in the public service, will be introducing paternity leave for fathers of newborns, and family leave for adoptive parents who are bringing a new child into the home.

Minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, made the announcements at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, July 12. He said that the changes are coming out of the current public sector compensation review and will be facilitated by updating the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004.

To give effect to the changes, Dr Clarke informed that a circular will be sent to all employees of the public service on September 30, specifying the details of the new leave arrangements. The leave for fathers of newborns will be for a specific time and on terms to be finalised.

Dr Clarke noted that restructuring public sector compensation not only relates to wages and salaries but takes into account benefits like pension and terms and conditions such as leave entitlements.

He said that the objective is to appropriately align with public sector values and to bring certain benefits in line with what obtains in the private sector.

“We are working to modernise our public service. Modernisation is multifaceted. It includes pursuing efficiency and simplification, it embraces fairness and equity in compensation, it involves the application of technology to boost access and productivity, it requires better customer service and it also embraces changes in the terms and conditions that better reflect our values,” he noted.

The public sector compensation review is intended to overhaul the structure of salaries and other emoluments in the public service.

This exercise will simplify the current complicated 325 salary scales and eliminate most of the 185 allowances.

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