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Wajackoyah proposes one year maternity leave and stipend for expectant women

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By Judith Gicobi

If elected President in the August elections, George Wajackoyah of the Roots Party has suggested a 12-month maternity leave for mothers.

The Kenya Employment Act states that male and female employees are each entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave and three months of paid maternity leave, respectively.

However, Wajackoyah has promised to alter the Act and made a commitment that under his leadership, pregnant mothers will be allowed to take nine months off from work during the course of the pregnancy and an additional three months after birth.

“I will work out with my experts in that field. I will definitely have to bring in Canadians who have taken women values very highly to help me formulate the policy,” he said.

The 62-year-old, who is running to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August elections, stressed how important he finds the advancement of women and pledged to go above and beyond to ensure their wellbeing.

“I grew up without a mother. I was a street boy and women in my government will be protected,” he said.

In Canada, expectant women can choose to take maternity leave for either 12 or 18 months.

Wajackoyah’s plan noted that his administration would turn the expectant moms into state projects and provide them with stipends to help them get by for the nine-month period.

“We want to take care of mothers right from the inception of the child and we feel that we want to give them enough money because we shall have enough of it from the business of marijuana,” he said, adding that both employed and jobless mothers will receive the payment.

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“Protecting the health and welfare of mothers is the prerogative of the government,” he said.

Wajackoyah made a suggestion that he will also examine the paternity leave benefits for men, although he discounted the possibility of providing them with a stipend.

On July 2, the professor-turned-politician is expected to release his 12-manifesto.

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