The Equalization of Spanish Paternity Leave

The Equalization of Spanish Paternity Leave

The Spanish government is planning to pass a number of measures related to equality that were rejected by Spanish congress as part of the 2019 budget. Among those measures is the equalization of paternity leave with maternity leave, which will include an increase from the current 5 weeks to 8 weeks this year for employees in both the public and private sectors.

The changes are included in draft legislation entitled “Royal Decree Law on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation,” a 28-page document that the government has distributed for review, and while there may be some modifications, government sources have stated that the issue of paternity leave will most likely be approved.

Women currently have 6 weeks of compulsory leave in comparison to 5 weeks for men, which are voluntary, and the government’s new plan will see paternity leave rise to 8 weeks in 2019, to 12 weeks by 2020, and by 2021, both parents will enjoy equal, non-transferable and paid leave for 16 weeks.

There are a further 10 weeks of leave that either parent can take, but in practice this period is nearly always taken by women. The changes are similar to those agreed on by the Socialist Party (PSOE) government and left-wing party Unidos Podemos for inclusion in the 2019 budget. However, that plan was voted down after Prime Minister Sánchez lost the support of Catalan pro-independence parties. Sánchez has since called a general election for April 28, but is trying to pass legislation such as this change to paternity leave before potentially losing office.

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