Spanish Congress grants equal paternity leave for men

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/10/20 9:24:32

The Spanish Congress on Wednesday voted to extend paid paternity leave for new fathers from the present 13 days to up to 16 weeks. The move means that men in Spain will now be entitled to the same amount of paid time off work for the arrival of a new child as women.

The idea had first been put forward in 2009, but was finally presented by the left-wing Podemos party, which argued that both the Spanish Constitution and European law forbid gender discrimination.

The proposal was passed with 173 votes in favor, two against, and with the abstention of the right-wing People's Party and the center-right party Ciudadanos.

Ciudadanos argued that the new measure was not wide-ranging enough and that Spain should move towards a Swedish-style policy which would allow each partner eight weeks paid leave with the possibility of the parents then sharing an extra 10 weeks between them.

The current law in Spain allows women 16 weeks maternity leave, giving them the option of transferring up to 10 weeks of that to their partner, although figures published by Spain's employment ministry shows that less than two percent of fathers take advantage of that option.

Women are also allowed to take a year of unpaid leave after the end of the first 16-week period.

Posted in: EUROPE

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