Effective January 1, 2023, Jamaican fathers of newborn babies can go on paternity leave. The same also applies to families that have recently adopted a child. According to The Gleaner, the announcement of the new reforms was made by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Marsha Smith.
Smith, who spoke about the reforms at an event on Tuesday, also said that the proposal to have the period of paid maternity leave to be increased to three months from 40 days will similarly take effect on January 1.
The aforementioned changes reportedly stem from the recent public-sector compensation review. It will take effect after the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004 are updated. The introduction of the compensation review is also aimed at bringing effective changes to salary structures as well as emoluments that workers in the Caribbean nation are entitled to.
“This is an opportunity for other Jamaicans who have the capacity and the ability to take on fostering to foster a child,” Smith said. “If you are a public servant, you are going to be given that opportunity to get those weeks to settle that child in before you go back to work fully. This is why we are trying to modernise the public sector in real ways to meet the ways of public servants, not just in terms of compensation but also in overall quality of life.”
Smith added that changes are necessary because they will “ensure that we are able to retain the talent locally, which will ensure an efficient, simplified public sector.” Smith also said that several trade unions representing public-sector workers have struck an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service on the amended compensation system for the public sector.
“I was very happy last week when the Ministry of Finance, together with its union partners… were able to sign several memoranda of understanding, and these… cover approximately 60,000 employees, and we are well under way to seeing the entire public sector being transformed,” she said.
“The Minister of Finance… is committed to ensuring that we implement a public-sector compensation that is fair, transparent and sustainable. He is determined to ensure that each and every public-sector worker is better off financially. To all public-sector workers, I say be patient; there is always some shifting around when there is transformation, but in the end, everything eventually settles down.”
Smith commended the unions that partook in the process. She also said she acknowledged “the trust they have shown in the Government by signing this agreement”.
“For those who have not yet signed, I encourage you to do so. I am confident that this is a step in the right direction as we continue to change the various aspects of public-sector transformation,” she added.