The next National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will institute a four-month maternity leave system for Ghanaian workers, says Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, running mate of the NDC.
The move, the running mate to John Mahama explained, is to provide enough time for working mothers to recover fully after childbirth and have enough time to take care of their new borns, as well as organise themselves properly before returning to work.
Providing glimpses of the policy interventions in the soon-to-be launched NDC manifesto, during an interaction with leaders of professional bodies and unions in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region, as part her campaign tour of the region, said the increase in the maternity leave period is in response to research based concerns which indicate that the three months provided to mothers is insufficient.
Section 57(1) of Ghana’s Labour Act 2003, Act 651 stipulates that “A woman worker, on production of a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner or a midwife indicating the expected date of her confinement, is entitled to a period of maternity leave of at least twelve weeks in addition to any period of annual leave she is entitled after her period of confinement.”
Although the labour law does not limit the leave period to 12 weeks,the three month period has become the general practice in Ghana.
But taking into consideration the need for lactating mothers to return to work in good health to perform productively, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, says the NDC will make it a mandatory four- month maternity leave period.
“Our manifesto is of a different nature this time,” she said, adding that there are innovative policies that would enable the NDC government to build on its enviable achievements and do more for workers.
In addition, the Vice Presidential candidate said the new policy programmes in the manifesto, designed to enable Ghanaians to achieve their aspirations, has incorporated the views of the various worker unions and professional groups, as a measure to ensure all-inclusive governance.
“We need to work together by listening to each other. We need to be non-discriminatory, we need to plan together,” she said.