November 26, 2022

Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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Jamaica: Paternity leave to come into effect January 1

November 24, 2022

CMC – The Jamaica government says the proposed introduction of paternity leave for fathers of newborns and family leave for adoptive parents bringing a new child into the home, is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2023.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Marsha Smith, said also that the proposed increase of paid maternity leave from 40 days to three months will commence on January 1.

“This is an opportunity for other Jamaicans who have the capacity and the ability to take on fostering to foster a child. 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,” Smith told a public forum as part of Civil Service Week.

“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,” she told the forum held under the theme ‘The Public Sector: Forging Ahead with Determination’.

The authorities said that the initiative is as a result of the current public-sector compensation review and will be facilitated by updating the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004. The compensation review is intended to overhaul the structure of salaries and other emoluments in the public service.

Smith said the aim is to ensure that public servants are compensated in ways that are competitive with the local private as well as the international markets.

“These changes will ensure that we are able to retain the talent locally, which will ensure an efficient, simplified public sector,” she said, adding that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has reached an agreement with several trade unions representing public-sector workers on the restructured public-sector compensation system.

“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.

“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,” she said.

Smith praised all the unions that have “passionately” represented their members through the process, “and I acknowledge 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 said.

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