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Politics These African countries have changed their perspective on paternity leave

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In Africa paid paternity leave is still seen as unacceptable but these countries are turning the clock

Gone are the days when childcare was just a mother's job. Now things are changing.

Some countries in recent times have instituted paternity leave for fathers in addition to the maternity leave bestowed to mothers.

The paternity leave debate has been ongoing in several African countries. Fathers in Nigeria will not be taking in the joys of paternity leave anytime soon.

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Lawmakers have shut down a bill to legalize optional paternity leave for male workers in private and public employment. The bill failed to get past a second reading. To become a law, the bill needed to pass the second reading, a committee review as well as a third reading before presidential assent.

But the paternity leave apathy isn’t restricted to Nigeria alone. Countries like Algeria, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania do not necessarily have paternity leave however, they only provide a few days for the fathers to be absent from work after their spouses’ delivery.

In Africa, these countries provide paid paternity leave for five days or more.



There is no provision for paternity leave in the country's Labour Proclamation 2003. However, article 81 of the country's constitution provides for an entitlement of up to 5 consecutive days’ unpaid leave in the case of exceptional and serious events. (Source: §81 of the Labour Proclamation No. 377/2003 (amended by Proc. No. 466/2005 & Proc. No. 494/2006)

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In Kenya, men get two weeks of paid paternity.  The leave is only applicable to a man whose recognised wife delivers a baby. What this means is that paternity leave is not open to any man, but only those who are married and whose wives are recognised by the employers. Section 29 (8) deals with the issue of paternity leave and again the wording suggests that it is a mandatory provision. It states: "A male employer shall be entitled to two weeks paternity leave with full pay."



Paternity leave begins within one week from the birth of the child and will be on full pay provided the father has been in continuous employment with the same employer for a period of at least 12 months prior to the date of birth of the child. They are required to provide a medical certificate indicating their spouse has given birth as well as a written statement he has signed to show he is living with the spouse under the same room for the leave to be granted.

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South Africa


In South Africa, mothers are entitled to take 4 consecutive months of unpaid maternity leave. Fathers, on the other hand, are only allowed 3 days' family responsibility leave per year, and fathers say it's time the law made amendments.

Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast and Madagascar, Togo

In these countries, paternity leave is covered in family allowance leave or what is referred to as ‘family events concerning the workers’ home’.   Fathers can take up to 10 days paid leave upon the birth of their children.