Major Teoh’s Blog

January 19, 2007

Paternity Leave

Filed under: Industrial Relations — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 4:39 pm

Paternity Leave

By Major (Rtd) Teoh

 The EA 1955 is silent about paternity leave. Period. As an employer, if you want to give, it is a bonus. If you do not want to give, it is also up to you. But once you give, it cannot be removed or replaced by a less favourable term.

The implications will depend mainly on the definitions and meanings of the key words you have assigned to them. The courts will interpret them as they are written down in the rterms and conditions of service. It will also consider the practices and norms in that company in case of a lacuna. Therefore the wordings of the clause to this benefit must be written out clearly without any ambiguity.

In law you will notice that for a simple ruling there are usually many provisos to it. If not why do you think the second section of most acts or statutes are usually devoted to an inventory of words with their meanings defined and explained? This is to remove all doubts and misinterpretations.

In conclusion, if you decide to give paternity leave, decide on the following and be clear about it:

  • Who is entitled to it?
  • Set the quantum.
  • Define the status and relationship e.g. husband, wife, married, divorced, or married out of wedlock and other documentary proof  required.
  • Define birth, still born, miscarriage
  • How should multiples birth like twins, triplets etc. be handled?
  • Should the quantum be doubled or tripled?
  • When must it be utilised?
  • Can it be carried forward?
  • Can it be encashed?
  • What is the frequency?

You will definitely have your hands full if you do not sort out the above and many more.

Regards,

Major (Rtd) Teoh

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