Fathers to get equal rights
Parity in paternity and maternity leave approved by Spanish parliament
People’s party, expected to form a minority government soon, opposes the measure saying it will significantly increase costs
Paid paternity leave in Spain is to be increased to 16 weeks to give men parity with women, under new measures agreed by parliament.
Fathers are currently entitled to 13 consecutive days off work, starting two days prior to the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. This increases to 20 days if the family is large – with three or more children – or if the child is born with a disability.
Under existing arrangements, 10 weeks of maternity leave can be transferred to the father, an option taken up by less than 2% of men. Under the new law, maternity and paternity leave will not be transferable.
The proposal was put forward by the anti-austerity Podemos party on the grounds that both the Spanish constitution and European law prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender. It was passed with 173 in favour and only two against. However, the conservative People’s and Citizens parties both abstained.
The agreement is yet to be budgeted as Spain is still formally without a government but opponents to the law in the People’s party, which is expected to form a minority government by the end of this month, said the measure would significantly increase costs.
The Spanish parliament agreed equal maternity and paternity leave in principle as far back as 2009 but governments have consistently failed to implement it, blaming the financial crisis. However, figures suggest that Spain’s very low birthrate means the cost of paternity and maternity benefits is falling.
Elena Faba de la Encarnación, a spokeswoman for the Citizens party, said her party had abstained because it wants paid leave to be extended to 26 weeks.
Spanish women are entitled to a year’s unpaid leave once paid maternity has expired. Both parents in same-sex couples have been entitled to parental leave since 2007.
What do you think of the measure? Is it a welcome one?