The authorities in Nepal have decided to grant paternity leave to all male government employees.
The government of Sher Bahadur Deuba is reforming the civil service
Under the new provision, male employees will be allowed to take 11 days paid leave for the birth of each of their first two children.
The new rule comes as part of moves to reform the civil administration and breaks new ground in the region.
Government employees in neighbouring India and Pakistan are not entitled to paternity leave.
Officials at Nepal's general administration ministry say the idea to offer paternity leave is aimed at the welfare of women.
They say the leave will allow male employees to take care of their wives and newborn babies.
At the moment female government employees in Nepal get two months of paid maternity leave.
The government has also introduced other measures in the face of pressure from international donors for administrative reform.
They include reserving more than 40% of jobs in government agencies for women, minorities and groups still suffering caste discrimination.
The government is also planning to establish child-care centres to encourage women to opt for a career in government.
Public reaction to the paternity move was generally positive.
Bir Bahadur Hada, a senior assistant at the Civil Aviation Authority, said: "If we believe in gender equity, then men are supposed to help women at times when they have babies."
Bhim Kunwar, a section officer at the commerce ministry, said: "I think the government must have realised that males, especially in nuclear families, need such leave."
But Pravin Bhattarai, an employee at the foreign ministry, said he was not excited as he already had two children.
Nepal's government committed to institute widespread reforms when it received a $300m loan from the Asian Development Bank in 2001.
The bank will make a second instalment of $90m to the Nepalese government only after it implements reform measures.