The draft law on social insurance, which is planned for discussion at the National Assembly's forthcoming session in May, has mentioned for the first time paternity leave for male employees, the Government news portal reported on May 15.

If it is approved, male employees will be allowed to have 5-7 days off with payment depending on their wives’ normal delivery or caesarean.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s report released in Geneva on May 13, Vietnam’s maternity policy is equal to that of developed countries but there has not been any regulations on paternity leave for fathers as half of countries around the world encourage fathers to further take part in their partners’ delivery and their children’s postnatal care.

Gyogy Sziraczki, Director of ILO Country Office for Vietnam, said that the recognition of paternity and men’s responsibilities in sharing home chores and caring their families would help eliminate traditional notions and boost gender equality at work and at home.

The report also mentioned Vietnam’s extension of maternity leave from four to six months, making the country one of Asian countries with the longest maternity leave.

If the maternity leave is too short, mothers may prefer taking care of their health to returning to work and they may be excluded from the labour market for this reason, Sziraczki said.

Too long maternity leave may also badly affect the bond between women and their paid work, as well as their promotion opportunities and discrimination to them in recruitment, pregnancy and maternity leave, Sziraczki added.

The report also said that Vietnam is among 58% of the countries and territories paying maternity allowance via social insurance channel.-VNA