About Paternity Leave, Issues & Thoughts

Sweden Will Give Three Months of Paternity Leave

When you become a father, you begin to understand many things and to question others: for example, the issue of paternity permits. After giving birth to my daughter I realized (obviously when you have not you do not think about these things), that the maternity and paternity permits in Spain remains short. I do not say it just to be compared to others, but because it is not really enough time to let go of your offspring or to stop sharing their care with the father throughout the day.

It is not the case in Sweden, where until last year the father enjoyed two months, but thanks to a law just adopted by Parliament, it will increase to three with remuneration included. Of course, this country remains at the forefront of the duration of paternity leave in Europe, since between both parents 420 days are added.

Anyone who does not want to use the permit will not receive their salary for three months on vacation. According to Niklas Löfgren, the spokesman for the Social Security Agency of that country, it is believed that it will be given use of those days, but it does not know what its effect will be. Although the idea is that the proportion of parents who take the permit increase thanks to this and other reforms that come.

And in Spain?

In our country, for now, we will continue with the same two weeks of leave. The last time this topic was put on the table was proposed to extend it to four weeks, but the government was responsible for dismissing it because of the ‘ high cost .’ I hope that one day I will be familiar with the position it deserves within the policies of this country.

Government rules out extending paternity leave from two to four weeks

Last November 19th, the Government, through its Minister of Health, social services, and Equality, Ana Mato, confirmed what already, after several postponements, many assumed that it is discarded to extend the paternity permit of the two current weeks to four, due to the cost of such measure.

According to the minister, today it is not possible to assume the cost of 245 million Euros that this measure would entail.

Money must be allocated “to the most urgent” as raising pensions, creating jobs and securing basic services such as education and health, said the minister.

According to the representative of the country, the expenditure of this measure, which accounts for 0.057% of the state’s budgets, could be financed from the forecast not allocated during 2013 of maternity and paternity permits.

Empty promises when reconciling

It is very shocking that in a country with a birth rate under historical lows, measures for work and family reconciliation remain a laughing matter and become part of the national priorities queue.

Once again we are faced with the inability of our politicians to see beyond the electoral year, and we continue without realizing that while other countries in our environment have taken measures to solve the problems of birth, here we are still worried about painting the tractor while we burn the field. And I wonder, how much will it cost to maintain this country when the aging population reaches the point of no return? I guess they’ll answer that if they take care of those in 2030.

Little value can have the words of our rulers when they talk about equality at work if there is still such a difference in days between each other. It is logical that businesspeople continue to discriminate against women in fertile ages compared to men if the latter can enjoy a mini-vacation when they are parents.

The Enemy at home

The little desire of the government to spend the money on something that does not benefit in a short-term business benefit, unite the few desires of much of the male collective. It is that even though there is a strong current of change in this sense, the idea that raising children is a thing of the same is still widespread. That ours is the work and the children are things of women.

A much-needed measure

Fortunately, I repeat, things are changing, and little by little, more and more men are getting up to claim their right to participate in raising their children. That is why measures like this are important to be carried out as soon as possible. We are not like mothers; we have not taken our son in nine months, we have not had that time of “adaptation” to this new situation that is to be a father. And in most cases, 15 days does not even begin to know.

It’s not four weeks either, but at least it’s a start. It is a precious time to know us, to get rid of that inner fear that enters you the first time you have your child in your arms. The moment when you do not know who you are now, in which overwhelms a feeling you’ve never had before, the feeling of “being a father” that both costs sometimes to digest.

We need those four weeks to create the foundation, the foundation of our new family, our future. We need to live motherhood next to our partner and not on the other side of the phone line. Just as we need the vacation to charge batteries to start over, we need that time with our family to become parents, to go from being two to three.

Madam Minister, this is not an expense of a few hundred million, is an investment in the future of hundreds of billions, is an investment in the future of the country, in our foundations, is a giant step towards a future inequality.

It should be borne in mind that this promise is present in the electoral bulletins of various parties from long before the onset of the crisis, without any of them doing anything to carry it out. I guess we’ll be going back to be for this 2015.

Of them and we depend.

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