File photo: Pregnant woman

The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) manifesto promise to extend by one month the usual three months maternity leave has been greeted with mixed reactions.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), as expected, is leading the debate against the policy which ought to be a maternal advantage.

Increasing the voice of the elephant party, Deputy Communications Director at the Office of the President, Fatimatu Abubakar has argued the policy is far from realistic.

She explained women make a vast majority of Ghana’s informal sector and a decision to stay off work for four months will not be welcomed.

Unlike corporate women who have applauded the idea because they get wages during their absence, she said no well-meaning mother will agree to sit idle by virtue of childbirth.

“Personally, I wish the leave was extended to one year but majority of women are in the informal sector. When such a woman gives birth it isn’t legislation that will make her stay home, it is the circumstances that will either determine if she will remain indoors or head for work,” she interpreted.

Giving backings to her point, the Communications Director made reference to a newborn mother she met in her neighbourhood who was up and about her trade.

When she asked why she did not take maternity rest, the mother explained she has four more mouths to feed and leave is far from what she needs.

She said if a collective ranking is made concerning priority of women, extended maternal leave will not pop up in top 10 of the list.