Review of national maternity and paternity policies and support for breastfeeding in the workplace in Latin America and the Caribbean

Maternity, paternity and parental leave, as well as policies to support breastfeeding in the workplace, are a fundamental part of comprehensive social protection systems and early childhood development strategies. The positive effects of these policies in terms of children’s health, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes are well established in the literature. In addition, when involving both parents more equitably, these policies can play an important role in supporting gender equality in the workplace and at home. Finally, they contribute to the fulfilment of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this context, UNICEF’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) have developed a study which compares current leave policies and policies supporting breastfeeding in the workplace in 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the standards established by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international best practices. The analysis shows that there are still significant gaps in the region.