All countries, apart from the US and Papua New Guinea have laws that make it for mandatory for employers to offer minimum paid parental leave, while Uganda and most African countries only limit it to maternity and paternity leave of between 8 and 17 weeks.
Standard Chartered Bank employees, including those in Uganda, will now be entitled to a minimum of 20 weeks of parental leave benefit.
Standard Chartered Group recently announced the rollout of enhanced global parental leave benefits that will also benefit its employees in Uganda, effective 1 September 2023.
The Bank will standardize the amount of parental leave it offers, providing parents the option of undertaking "more equitable caregiving responsibilities" for their children.
With the enhanced benefits, employees can access a minimum of 20 weeks of paid parental leave, "irrespective of gender, relationship status or how a child comes to permanently join an employee’s family", the bank says.
This means that whether it's a newborn, an adopted child, or a baby born through surrogacy or otherwise, the new father and the new mother will be entitled to 20 weeks off fully paid.
The enhanced benefits have been designed to support working parents.
Tanuj Kapilashrami, Group Head of Human Resources, said this is part of the Bank’s commitment to fostering an inclusive culture, where employees are supported in balancing their personal lives with building successful careers.
“We continuously look at how we can introduce progressive benefits that drive inclusion, improve the employee experience, and help colleagues achieve their potential. We believe benefits such as this help address globally prevalent societal norms around traditional roles, improve workforce participation, and provide options to those who want to take up shared childcare responsibilities," he said.
This move is expected to positively impact families’ financial well-being and create "a more inclusive workplace that supports each individual’s unique family planning choices," according to the bank.
He called on other corporations to also improve the workers' conditions by matching Standard Chartered's milestones. "We hope that our actions inspire other employers—across industries, around the world—to take similar actions. If we take a stand together, we can build a movement that creates a more inclusive society.”
The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation set regulations for employers to enable new parents to cope with the financial, emotional, and social challenges of raising a child to a certain age.
The Maternity Protection Convention, of 2000 requires at least 14 weeks of maternity leave.
In the European Union, the Pregnant Workers Directive requires at least 14 weeks of maternity leave; while the Work–Life Balance Directive requires at least 10 days of paternity leave, as well as at least four months of parental leave, with two months being non-transferable.
However national laws vary widely according to the politics of each jurisdiction. As of 2012, only two countries, Papua New Guinea and the United States, do not mandate paid time off for new parents.
In other jurisdictions, employees are allowed to convert parental leave into part-time work.
African countries have the shortest average parental leave, with mothers entitled to a total of between eight and 17 weeks, while fathers get between zero and 1 week.
South Africa and Ethiopia grant a minimum of 17 weeks of maternity leave but while South Africa allows a minimum of 60 percent pay, in Ethiopia, the mother is entitled to full pay.
According to Uganda's labour laws, a mother is entitled to a maternity leave of not less than 10 weeks, and a full pay, while a father gets 1 week paid.
The country provides no parental leave.
A handful of African countries grant parental leave, which comes after maternity and/or paternity leave.
Burkina Faso and Chad give 52 weeks to either parent, and in Morocco, only the mother is entitled to 52 weeks, while Egypt offers the longest of 102 weeks, only to mothers.