I have been meaning to post this article for a month now but quarterly taxes kept me very busy! The good news is that Pedro Sanchez’s administration has approved additional paternity leave much to the relief of many families. Last July, the usual 28 days leave was increased to five weeks and from 1st April 2019, it has risen again to EIGHT weeks. This isn’t the only good news though because a further increase to twelve weeks is in the pipeline from 1st January 2020 and to sixteen weeks from the 1st January 2021. From that moment, mothers and fathers will share the same rights and conditions when it comes to leave after the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.
The other option that may come to fruition in future is the possibility for the father to transfer leave to the mother. Up until now, the mother could transfer part of her leave to the father but she was obliged to enjoy the first six weeks herself and the father could receive ten weeks of her time. The new text to be included in the decree leads us to believe that only four weeks would be transferable.
Bearing in mind that today is Labour Day (or it was when I began writing this article!), it is only natural to think the father should be just as involved with the child’s care as the mother and she should not be automatically expected to renounce her professional life as has been tradition. To that end, in 2020, the mother may only transfer two weeks to the father and from 2021, no part of her maternity leave would be transferible, meaning that if it is not taken, it is lost.
More fantastic news is that sole-traders will also have the right to this leave as well as the right to receive benefits equivalent to the benefits that would be received in the event of illness as per the calculations for General Contingencies. Besides this benefit, the father would not be liable to pay monthly Social Security contributions. This is a massive perk that will allow fathers to become more involved with their new arrival in those crucial first weeks without the worry of letting their work obligations slip.
Extenuating circumstances may allow the father to extend their leave to thirteen weeks, if for example, the baby has to be hospitalized.
This new law is proof that Spain is progressing from its traditional matriarcal roots and values the need for fathers to not only support the mother of their child but to become involved themselves and step up should the mother wish to return to work earlier.