Indonesians win the right to one-month paternity leave but some fathers don’t want to take it
By Nurina Savitri
Siti Wahyuni thinks the 30-days maximum provision for paternity leave is too long. (ABC News: Iffah Nur Arifah)
Indonesian fathers who are civil servants are now eligible for up to one month of parental leave, but some families are choosing not to take it up or think it’s too much time.
- Some wives say the 30-day provision is too much and they would be “overwhelmed”
- The remuneration for some is too little to take the time off
- Indonesian association for mothers welcomes the development regardless
The new parental leave is set out in a 2017 regulation issued by the National Civil Service Agency, and was officially introduced in Jakarta a month ago.
Syamsudin Lologau, the head of Jakarta Employment Agency, said dozens of staff had already proposed taking paternity leave.
He believed a few days of paternity leave would be enough for some families.
Siti Wahyuni is eight months pregnant and hopes her husband could be with her during labour, but believes the 30-day maximum provision is too much.
“Gosh, we’ll be overwhelmed if [my] husband stays at home that long. It’d be better if he continues to work,” she told the ABC.
“I think one week before the due date and one week after [is] enough for my husband to stay at home.
“We can’t really predict when the baby decides to come out.”
Annisa is worried her husband’s work would pile up if he took paternity leave. (ABC News: Iffah Nur Arifah)
Annisa, a 24-year-old mother, is also hesitant about having her husband stay at home for a month.
“I’m afraid his work piles up, no one will do it,” she said.
The financial cost of paternity leave
Meanwhile, other men like Kristiawan, an immigration officer, say they wouldn’t take any parental leave because of financial reasons.
“Based on the regulation, if you take that leave then you won’t get main allowance, only basic salary,” Kristiawan said.
“And the salary is less than the allowance, it’s doubled.”
However, Kristiawan said he understood the logic behind the new parental leave.
“I do understand, by taking that leave you’ll get qualified time with family, and yes we need to be at our wife’s side,” he said.
“But I don’t want to lose my additional income for the sake of my family, so I think I don’t need to take it, perhaps one day before birth or one day during labour is enough.
“Or if you want it longer, one week is enough too.”
Others families have eagerly welcomed the new policy and see it as an opportunity to support their partner.
Indonesian mothers have ‘a bunch of support’
Ahmad Reno Amirza believes paternity leave is important because of men’s role as a husband and father. (ABC News: Iffah Nur Arifah)
Ahmad Reno Amirza, a civil servant in the Jakarta province, and his wife, who is six months pregnant, are expecting their second child.
The 40-year-old believes paternity leave is important because of men’s role as a husbands and fathers.
“If you have a wife that is due for labour, it is important to have her husband by her side,” he said.
Indonesian Breastfeeding Moms Association (AIMI) chief Nia Umar says her organisation appreciates and “welcomes” the new parental leave policy.
She said a month was enough for fathers in Indonesia.
“Well in this country, you can ask for help from others, you got mum-in-law too, the grandmas, we’ve usually got a bunch of support system.”
But she argued that people who considered the maximum 30 days stay-at-home period was too long should consider the mother.
“The first 40 days after labour is recovery period for a mom,” she said.
“Bathing the baby, changing diapers, going with her [the wife] to a doctor, those are the father’s job.”