Women eye more parent leave for men

Women eye more parent leave for men

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Women eye more parent leave for men

Extending maternity leave for women might push employers to recruit fewer women, according to Gülden Türktan, the head of KAGİDER. DAILY NEWS photo

Extending paternity leave for fathers would make more sense than increasing maternity leave considering the employment rates of women in Turkey, the head of a female entrepreneurs’ NGO has said.

“Extending maternity leave for women might push employers to recruit fewer women due to the costs,” the head of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER), Gülden Türktan, told the Hürriyet Daily News Jan. 11.

Türktan said they would prefer to have a regulation that would lead men and women to have equal rights to parental leave. “In developed countries, the choice for parental leave is left to the parents. Either the mother or father can take this leave. Having a child should not be only the responsibility of the mother.”

Health Minister Recep Akdağ said Jan. 11 that work to extend maternity leave terms for women was underway, but there are concerns that the extension could cause a decrease in women’s employment.
Akdağ said the issue of extending the duration of maternity leave was being discussed by the Cabinet. “The time period [of maternity leave] was being discussed, but a decision has not been made yet,” Akdağ said Jan. 11, according to Anatolia news agency.

The minister said there were concerns about the employment of women if the duration of maternity leave was extended, adding that a good balance had to be made regarding the issue.

“It has not been decided yet whether it will be six months. Not only the minister of labor and social security, but also work circles have said, ‘This has to be considered very carefully; we will do this for women and children, but it shouldn’t affect women’s employment in a negative way,’” Akdağ said.
Akdağ said the duration of maternity leave had been increased during the term of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. “Currently it is almost four months. We have increased the duration for breast-feeding leave.”

Türktan said they would not say no to any proposal that would back women’s prosperity but this kind of change might result in less employment for women due to the increasing costs to employers of recruiting women.

“Employment of women is very low already. Currently, only 26 percent of women are employed in Turkey. Extending maternity leave for women would cause more costs to employers, and this might result in fewer women being employed in companies,” Türktan said.