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Maternity, paternity leave: Include parents of children from surrogacy, adoption

Maternity, paternity leave: Include parents of children from surrogacy, adoption

The founder of Working Motherhood Initiative, Ms Larisa Akrofie, has called for the inclusion of parents of children from surrogacy and adoption in maternity and paternity leave.


According to her, adoption and surrogacy which are part of options for being a parent are becoming common in Ghana so conversations on parental leave must include such parents.

Traditionally, parental leave, a workplace benefit that allows employees to take time off from work to care for their newborns, focuses on biological parents.

“By including adoptive and surrogate parents in the parental leave policy, Ghana can demonstrate its commitment to fostering inclusivity and recognising the diverse paths to parenthood. This extension of support would not only benefit the parents themselves but also contribute to the well-being of the children they care for. It's a step towards creating a more equitable and compassionate society for all families,” she explained to The Mirror in an interview last Wednesday.

Ms Akrofie spoke to The Mirror ahead of a stakeholder’s dialogue following the initiation of bills in Parliament for the extension of maternity leave, paternity leave introduction and the removal of import taxes on menstrual hygiene products such as sanitary pads.

 Larisa Akrofie , founder, Working Motherhood Initiative

She said in addition to including provisions for adoptive and surrogate parents in this progressive bill, it will be important to provide specific support and resources tailored to the unique needs of these families. This, she explained could involve access to counselling services, informational resources on adoption and surrogacy and support groups where parents can connect with others who have similar experiences.

“The "Parental Leave for All" bill presents an opportunity for Ghana to address any existing legal and bureaucratic barriers that may prevent adoptive and surrogate parents from fully accessing their parental rights. Clear guidelines and procedures for these parents to navigate the legal aspect of parenthood would ensure that they have the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents,” she added.

‘Parental Leave for all’ Bill
In October 2023, human rights lawyer and  Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu initiated in Parliament a private member’s bill, proposing an amendment to extend maternity leave from three months to four months.

Francis Sosu
Francis-Xavier Sosu

The bill, which seeks to amend the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), is also proposing an option for an additional two weeks of maternity leave in the case of a caesarean section (CS), stillbirth(s) or multiple births.

The Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2023, also known as parental leave for all, is also pushing for the introduction of paid paternity leave for men for a minimum of seven days and a maximum period of four weeks, with the option of an additional two weeks in case of caesarean, still-birth(s) or multiple deliveries of spouse and to provide for related matters.

It is aimed at allowing new mothers adequate time to give birth, exclusively breastfeed, care for and bond with their new baby, as well as recover before returning to work.

The essence of paternity leave is to enable men to take care of their wives and assist the new mothers with domestic chores.

The stakeholder engagement, which was to start on Monday, February 25, is to allow all stakeholders to contribute to and validate the draft before it is gazetted and presented on the floor of Parliament.

Ms Akrofie, whose platform is championing the cause of maternity protection for working mothers across Africa, added “through campaigns and collaborations, we will continue to raise awareness of the importance of maternity protection and the benefits it brings to businesses and the economy as a whole. The potential disruption to business operations during an employee's maternity leave is a valid concern for many employers. However, with proper planning, these disruptions can be mitigated.”

A maternal health and wellness advocate Eno Quagraine, popularly known as Talkativemom said it had become important to contribute to such policies and initiatives that address maternal health issues and promote the wellbeing of mothers and infants in Ghana.

Eno Quagraine

“Advocacy in the maternal health space is so important because, during the process of childbirth, mothers are usually unable to advocate for themselves. Personal experiences shared with me by many mothers have driven me to not only advocate for improved maternal healthcare but also create a platform for access to essential services and better support for mothers and families. 

“By not staying silent on health issues, we all play a crucial role in shaping policies, programmes and initiatives to address maternal health issues and promote the well-being of mothers and infants in Ghana,” she said.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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