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Switzerland: Statutory paternity leave law approved by parliament

Health and Benefits|Future of Work|Total Rewards
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By Patric Füglistaller | November 18, 2019

Fathers would be entitled to 10 days of paternity leave in the first six months after birth, payable at the same rate as maternity leave.

Employer action code: Monitor

The law will entitle new fathers to two weeks of paternity leave, payable by social security at the same rate as maternity leave, funded by a small increase in social security contribution rates. Currently, there is no federal paid paternity leave entitlement. An implementation date hasn’t been set as new laws are subject to holding periods during which time the law can be challenged by petition for a national referendum. Provided the law is not subject to referendum, it would likely be put into effect by July 1, 2020, or by January 1, 2021. In case a referendum on the new law does occur, voters will also have the opportunity to vote on four weeks of paternity leave as an alternative (from a prior popular initiative).

Key details

The law includes the following provisions:

  • Ten days of paternity leave can be taken, individually or consecutively, within six months after birth.
  • The paternity allowance will be payable by social security at the same rate as the maternity allowance, 80% of covered daily base salary, subject to a maximum 14 daily allowances of 196 Swiss francs.
  • Employer and employee social security contribution rates will each increase by 0.03% of covered pay.

Employer implications

Employers should monitor the new law and prepare for compliance once the implementation details are known. Employers will of course have the option to supplement the benefit, as is common for maternity leave. Around half of employers surveyed provide maternity leave in excess of statutory requirements, typically by providing the benefit for 16 weeks at 100% of pay, as the maximum daily benefit — 196 Swiss francs per day for 14 weeks (or 98 days) — has not changed since the maternity benefit was created in 2005. 44% of companies surveyed provide paid paternity leave (one week at the median).

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Patric Füglistaller

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