Photo: Maternity Leave Expanded Brazil
The Brazilian government wants to increase from four to six months the amount of paid maternity leave companies are obliged to give new mothers, the country’s minister for women’s policy said here Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Eleonora Menicucci said that the current law establishes an obligatory four-month period of paid leave for new mothers and gives firms the freedom to offer their employees the possibility of extending that for two additional months.
But the reality, the minister said, is that the number of firms that provide the voluntary extension “doesn’t exceed 30 percent” and so the government is considering making the extension “obligatory.”
The move is one of the priorities for Menicucci as head of the Ministry of Women’s Policy, a post she assumed recently and within the framework of which she is currently attending the 51st session of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Known as a militant feminist who shared a jail cell with President Dilma Rousseff during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, the minister said that her entry into the government does not break her “commitment to social justice and gender justice.”
She also made clear that she will not defend positions different from those of the administration, including on controversial issues such as abortion.
“From the moment I agreed to be a minister in the government, I’m following the position of the government and the government’s directives. For me, that is ethical,” Menicucci said.
Brazil’s current law authorizes abortion only in cases of rape or a threat to the life of the mother, and Menicucci emphasized that the Rousseff administration has no plans to modify it.