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The Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act, states female employees in Barbados; are entitled to Maternity Leave and the protection of employment during the period. Section 4 (1) of the Act states that the leave should be no less than twelve weeks, with no more than six weeks taken before the delivery and no less than six weeks after.

While there is little research available for the Barbadian population, research carried out throughout the world can still guide the island on best practice as working mothers here are not alien to those from other countries.

The Nordic countries offer the best paid parental leave packages. However, the USA still does not have a Federal Parental leave package. Instead, individual states must decide if parents receive paid leave. Our neighbours St. Lucia and Trinidad offer 14 paid weeks; while St. Vincent and the Grenadines offer 13 paid weeks.

Pregnancy not only affects a woman’s body and mind but also on every aspect of her life. Therefore, adequate time should be available to see her return to optimal productivity before returning to the workforce.

We boast of being one of the most developed and advanced Caribbean islands; therefore, our policies should reflect this. Here are some of the ways that extended Maternity Leave benefits employers and employees.