Persad-Bissessar: Implement paternity leave in public, private sector

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. – PHOTO COURTESY OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

ALL fathers should be entitled to paid paternity leave in the public and private sectors, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said in her Father’s Day message.

Father’s Day is being celebrated on June 16 this year.

Persad-Bissessar, in a news release on June 15, said fathers today face many challenges, at home, at work and sometimes by the legal system, negatively affecting their ability to co-parent.

“Today reminds us that fathers are vital in ensuring the strength and stability of our families as protectors, co-providers, role models, and mentors.”

Fathers, she said are “instrumental in raising productive citizens and building strong, steady communities.”

She credited her father Lilraj Persad and husband Dr Gregory Bissessar for giving her “invaluable support and guidance to me and my family all my life.”

Persad-Bissessar said one should be mindful that being a father is no easy task, especially in today’s society, as they face various challenges, “such as economic pressures, work-life balance and societal expectations, which can create burdens that impact their ability to be fully present in their children’s lives.

“Single fathers also sometimes unfairly face daunting legal and other challenges when they attempt to co-parent their children with former partners, which often negatively impact their parental rights and ultimately, their children’s well-being.”

She said she commended all fathers, who “despite dealing with such tough trials, still have the strength and willpower to rise above their challenges and work hard to provide financial support, and love and care for their children.”

“I urge them to persevere, knowing that one day, their children will remember all they did, and be better human beings for their sacrifices and efforts.”

In addition to her call for paid paternity leave, she advocated for state-run programmes and policies to address issues affecting fathers.

“I urge all to commit to building a society that truly empowers and supports fathers, ensuring they have the relevant opportunities and resources to be the best parents they can be.”