Spain: Equal and non-transferable paternity leave as of January 1, 2021


As of this Friday, January 1, 2021, those who become parents, or second parents, in Spain will have the right to a 16-week paternity leave equivalent to maternity and non-transferable.

Until today, men had a right to twelve weeks for birth or adoption.

In this way, Spain is at the forefront of Europe in terms of paternity leave, reaching in three years the average that the countries of the European Union (EU) have.

This legislation obliges both parents to share the first 6 leave together coinciding with the first month and a half of the baby’s life or adoption.

The other 10 weeks are voluntary and parents can decide if they want to use them full time or if they want to share them.

When the law was approved in March, the vice president of the Government of Spain, Carmen Calvo, assured that the objective of this law was to promote joint responsibility and stop using motherhood as “a weapon against women’s labor and citizen development.” .

The International Labor Organization (ILO) points out that motherhood continues to penalize women at work, both in terms of access to employment and wages, because social pressure forces women “to be the main caregivers.”

“A more than proportional extension of paternity leave would help remove the bias that generates the ‘risk of maternity’ and not the ‘risk of paternity’, which is the foundation of the myth that hiring women implies a higher cost for the employer”, explained to Euronews Florencia Caro Sachetti, coordinator of the CIPPEC Social Protection program.

Excluding Switzerland, all parents residing in European countries receive some kind of parental leave.

France has also decided to increase the number of paternity days and the new regulation will come into force in July 2021, doubling the leave from 14 to 28 days and including at least one mandatory week. According to an article in Le Parisien from 2017, only 4% of French people used their paternity leave.

The longest paternity leaves in Europe

In Germany, men can stay at home for up to 14 months with a salary of 67%.

The Nordic countries also lead this field, with Norway offering parents almost a year (46 weeks at 100% of salary, or 56 weeks at 80%).

This free time is allocated equally with 10 weeks for the mother, 10 for the father and the remainder to be divided between the two.

Swedish parents have 12 months, which will be divided between the two parents, with at least two months for the mother and father.

In 2010, the European Parliament tried to introduce legislation to make paternity leave of 15 days mandatory, but it was rejected by the European Council.

In 2019, both bodies agreed on a directive that sets a minimum parental leave of 10 days and the EU countries have since then 3 years to adapt their legislation to this regulation.


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