December 05, 2019
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    Parent removes from UNICEF logo to highlight ‘family friendly’ policies Featured

    June 15, 2019

    To highlight the need for parents in Sri Lanka to receive increased support through family friendly policies, enabling them to play their full role in the healthy growth and development of their children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has temporarily removed the image of the parent from its 70 year old ‘parent and child’ logo

    .During the first five years, parents are the most import individuals in a child’s life. In this period a child’s brain develops at a never-to-be-repeated speed of more than 1 million neural connections every second. This period offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape a child’s ability to learn, grow and contribute fully to their society.

    Parents require time to parent their children, and family friendly policies, such as paid parental leave and breastfeeding breaks, enable them to give their children the best start.While Sri Lanka has made strides, the implementation and availability of family friendly policies for parents in the workplace is inconsistent in both the public and private sectors. With family friendly policies good for families, businesses and economies, UNICEF is globally calling for increased investment in four priority areas;

    At least six months of paid parental leave that is available for both parents.In Sri Lanka, since 2018 every employed woman has been entitled to 84 paid working days of maternity leave and the government has now provided additional tax benefits to business to support maternity leave. However, there is very limited provisions for fathers to receive paternity leave, with government employees entitled to just three working days, and private sector paternity leave decided on a company by company basis.

    Breastfeeding facilities and paid breastfeeding breaks for women returning to work. In Sri Lanka, mother in the public sector are entitled to 60 minutes of breastfeeding breaks for a child’s first six months.Within the private sector female employees are entitled to two, 30 to 60 minute breastfeeding breaks per day for the child’s first year. This is an impressive commitment from the Government. However, there is no obligation for employers in Sri Lanka to provide breastfeeding facilities for parents onsite. Affordable, accessible and quality childcare services. In Sri Lanka the ‘National Guidelines for Child Day Care Centres’ was introduced in 2017, with a ‘National Policy for Child Day Care Centres’ currently under development and designed to increase investment in this area. Further, the 2019 Budget sets out plans for concessionary loans for large business to provide childcare facilities.

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