Rwanda: MPs Propose Longer Maternity Leave for Multiple Birth Mothers

28 September 2019

Working mothers who give birth to two or more children at the same time should be entitled to longer maternity leave than those who have a single birth, some members of parliament have proposed saying they do not get enough time to rest when they give birth to more than one baby.

Currently, all working mothers who deliver babies are allowed a fully paid three-month maternity leave under the maternity leave benefits scheme.

The MPs made their suggestion this week as the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs began scrutinising the new draft law establishing the general statute governing public servants.

Raising one child might be demanding, and for a mother who has given birth to twins, triplets or even quadruplets, the expenditure on raising, as well as taking care of the children can double, triple, or quadruple.

Given such a situation, MPs are advocating for the extension of maternity leave for such mothers.

Members of parliament want mothers who have given birth to more than one baby get more maternity leave. / Sam Ngendahimana

MP Gloriose Uwanyirigira wondered why a working mother who gives birth to one child gets the same maternity leave as one who gives birth to twins or even more.

"A mother who has given birth to more than one child has very demanding responsibilities to look after. This means that she does not rest as required. She should get additional maternity leave even if it is one more month," she said.

The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Fanfan Rwanyindo said that the MPs' suggestion makes sense as the mother who has more than one child at birth gets extra work to tend to the children, but, expressed that currently, it is not possible to extend their maternity leave.

"The Government is of the view that a new mother should get enough time to care for their child and return to work after the child has reached an adequate stage of growth," she said.

She said the government had made progress to enable working mothers to get their full pay in the current three-month maternity leave from one and a half month leave before.

"Before this development, it was a serious challenge because a working mother had the stark choice of leaving their one-and-a-half-month-old baby and return to work, or staying by its side and get only 20 percent of her salary," the Minister observed.

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