Maternity leave: Law is enough?

Monday 11 November 2013

Vietnam has gained a huge achievement in letting mothers stay at home 6 months after delivery for exclusive breastfeeding.

The Law has taken effect since May 2013; with much celebration from the local population. Over the course of six months, the Law has been well followed by many organizations such as government, charity organizations and private sector.

However, much remains to be done. In numerous companies, for example China factories, mothers have to go back to work after four months. They revealed that before taking maternity leave, they had to have “unofficial negotiations” with their boss, if they do not agree; they are at risk of losing their jobs. What’s more, mothers who are farmers or living in mountainous areas, do not have any kind of labor insurance. They have to go back their field for farming after 2-3 months after giving baby for earning their live, where probably be far from home. In those cases, they let their children at home, so the babies have to eat other foods rather than breast milk in this early stage of baby life.

But children are the ones that ultimately suffer as result, and these are the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized children that require the most protection. In order to fill the gap, more effort should be continued from government and other organization to give breast milk to our children as much as possible. Children have right to be breastfed to obtain optimal growth and development!

The new Law on maternity leave has been the result of continuous advocacy by the by Alive and Thrive Project. The project helps to support mothers to breastfeed their babies, better complementary feeding and consequently to improve child nutrition situation of Vietnam.