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Significant changes are needed around the world to support families with young children

UNICEF has released new recommendations on pro-family policies


New York, August 1st, 2019 – The private sector and governments should immediately implement pro-family policies that will promote the healthy development of children, as well as be a basis for parental success in the workplace. “Pro-family policy: shaping the workplace of the future” concept states that paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, child benefits and affordable and quality care are still not available to the vast majority of parents worldwide.


The concept includes the following 4 recommendations:


  1. Paid leave for parents. A minimum of six months of paid parental leave for all parents, of which 18 weeks must be given to mothers. Governments and the private sector should strive to provide up to 12 months of paid vacation leave, and in low- and middle-income countries, a one-month increase in paid maternity leave has reduced infant mortality by 13 percent. In high-income countries, each additional week of paid leave for parents reduces the likelihood of single mothers living in poverty by more than 4 percent each week. Six-month paid parental leave also promotes exclusively breastfeeding. Paid leave for parents also helps reduce staff turnover, staff recruitment and training costs, as well as retaining experienced professionals. In countries where such policies have been in place for decades, women’s employment has increased and led to a 10-20% increase in GDP per capita.
  2. Breast feeding support. Regular Breastfeeding breaks during breastfeeding promote breastfeeding and create conditions and a comfortable breastfeeding environment that includes all the necessary facilities allows mothers to continue breastfeeding together with food or exclusively breastfeeding returning to work.
  3. Comprehensive child care. Universal access to affordable and high quality child care, from parental leave to first grade, including child care and aftercare, as well as primary care programs. Children who receive high quality early childhood developmental care are healthier, better educated, do not stay out of school, and receive higher incomes as adults. Childcare services are crucial to women’s empowerment and allow parents to fulfill their work responsibilities and aspirations while at home fulfilling their parental responsibilities.
  4. Child allowance. Expand the coverage of cash benefits for all children, ranging from the youngest children to college tuition. Child benefits should be part of the social protection system in all countries.

“The benefits of pro-family policies outweigh the costs of investing in them – stronger health, reduced poverty, increased business efficiency and economic growth,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Investing in our families is not only sensible social policy but also sensible economic policy.”


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