Dads have been in the limelight this past weekend with the celebration of Fathers' Day.
While many appreciate and acknowledge the important role father's play in their children's life, the laws of our country have prevented new dads from spending time with their newborn child.
Currently, those working in the government sector are entitled to seven days of paid parental leave, while those working with state governments are entitled to up to 14 days.
When it comes to private sector, however, companies are not required to give new fathers any time off.
Except for a handful of awesome employers, most companies give one to three leave days at most.
The Ministry of Human Resources have proposed amendments to the Employment Act, one of which is the introduction of three days of mandatory paternity leave.
The Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), however, said that three days are not enough, and the number of days should be increased to at least seven.
In a statement shared on its website, its executive director said paternity leave is crucial in promoting shared responsibility among couples, which benefits fathers, mothers, and children.
Several studies have shown that having a more involved father contributes positively to a child's growth.
This includes better social, emotional and cognitive development, and better performances in school, according to the statement.
Allowing fathers to play a bigger role at home also allows for a more gender-equal society, as the burden of taking care of a home and bringing children up doesn't fall mainly on mothers.
In Malaysia, 55.6% of women make up the workforce, one of the lowest in Southeast Asia.
One of the major contributing factor to this is that managing a career and a family without equal contribution from their spouses takes a heavy toll on a new parent.
Despite evidences that show the positive impact of paid paternity leave, local employers have refused to fund the proposed three-day paid paternity leave, let alone a seven-day leave.
Malaysian Employers Federation reportedly said that the move will cost companies RM157.2 million, or RM52.4 million a day.
Malay Mail reported that the federation wants Social Security Organisation (Socso) or the Employment Insurance System (EIS) to bear the cost instead.
This is not a anomaly. In many countries, the cost of paternity and maternity leave is borne either by employers, the government or social security, or both.
If you believe that fathers and their families deserve better, sign this petition by WAO to push the government to make seven-day paid paternity leave part of the Employment Act.
So, if you're one of those people who believe that fathers should get paid leave to stay home and take care of their newborn son or daughter, help make it a reality.