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Spain

16 May 2019

Spain: extension of longer paternity leave entered into force on 1 April 2019

As of 1 April 2019, paternity leave in Spain has been extended from five to eight weeks. This was settled in a Royal Decree-Law to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities. Fathers of children (born and adopted) are entitled to nearly two months leave, of which the first two should be taken at the same time as the mother and immediately after the birth or adoption.

The legislation that brings paternity leave from 5 to 8 weeks has come into force on 1 April 2019. The Bill, entitled Royal Decree Law on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation, provides fathers (and for same sex couples, the second parent) with the possibility to take 8 weeks of fully paid leave instead of the former 5 weeks. The first two weeks should be taken from birth, while the remaining six weeks may be distributed during the first year. The measure will lead to a progressive equalisation of paternity leave with maternity leave, for employees in both the public and private sectors. In fact, it is the latest initiative in a series of reforms aimed at creating a better work-life balance. The Spanish parliament had started with this reform in the summer of 2018.

The basis for the reform was announced in a 28-page document that the government distributed to the relevant social partners. The consultations and dialogue meetings successfully ended six months ago as the General State Administration (AGE), in which the Government and the representative public sector unions are present, ratified the position prepared in the Equality Technical Commission. The unions said at that time that the equalisation of maternity and paternity leave, extending the latter to 16 weeks for all official is one of their historical objectives.

The final goal is to increase paternity leave from eight weeks in 2019, to 12 weeks by 2020, and 16 weeks by 2021. At that moment, maternity and paternity leaves will be equal and non-transferable and will be known as ‘birth permissions’ covering the birth or adoption and care of the child both parents with a paid leave for 16 weeks, which can be extended by two weeks per child in the case of a multiple birth.

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