By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, May 04 (APP):Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday announced its Parental Support Policy targeted to motivate and champion professional cricketers in their journey to parenthood – throughout pregnancy and even after childbirth when they return to play and are required to balance their parental responsibilities with the demands of their cricketing career.
Under the newly introduced policy, women and men players have been granted various rights that they are respectively entitled to avail during the pregnancy and upon the birth of their child.
Included within the policy is the option for women cricketers to transfer to a non-playing role until commencement of their maternity leave leading up to the birth of their child.
Women cricketers are also entitled to take up to 12 months of paid maternity leave and will be guaranteed a contract extension for the following year, in line with their existing contractual arrangements as the PCB believes that a player’s right to pursue the game on a professional level should not be limited because of their pregnancy or responsibilities as a new parent.
Upon conclusion of the maternity leave, the player will be reintegrated into cricketing activities and provided adequate medical and physical support in respect of their post-childbirth rehabilitation.
Similarly, if a woman player is required to travel for cricketing activities, the PCB will support the player by allowing her to travel with a support person of her choice to assist in caring for her infant child, with the travel and accommodation costs to be shared equally.
Men cricketers, who are expectant or new fathers, will also be entitled to up to 30 days of fully paid leave, which will need to be taken within 56 days of the birth of their child, as part of the paternity rights covered under the Policy.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said : “The PCB has a duty of care towards its cricketers and at every turn it has taken measures to support them. In this relation, it is appropriate that we have a player-friendly parental support policy so that our professional cricketers can feel fully supported during an important stage in their lives, without worrying about their careers.
“To have this policy for our women cricketers was even more significant. Women play a pivotal role in the development of a society and our women cricketers have brought us laurels and recognition at the world stage.
“Now that we have maternity leave policy, I am hopeful that it will attract more women and girls to take up the sport as this will help them strike the crucial work-life balance.”