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Article | Global News Briefs

Global: Spain increases paternity leave again, one of many countries offering leave for new parents

Health and Benefits
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August 31, 2018

Spain joins a growing list of countries that have enacted or proposed increases and enhancements in maternity and paternity leave over the past 12 to 18 months.

Employer action code: Act

Spain joins a growing list of countries that have enacted or proposed increases and enhancements in maternity and paternity leave over the past 12 to 18 months, increasing statutory paternity leave from four to five weeks (plus two additional days per child for multiple births) as of July 5, 2018. During leave, pay replacement benefits are provided by social security — INSS (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social) at 100% of covered salary. Leave was already increased from 13 to 20 days in 2017.

The changes reflect a global trend of governments increasing maternity and paternity leaves even as families and households get smaller. Average household size has declined almost everywhere, and fewer households include children, particularly in wealthier nations, according to a 2017 U.N. report. In most of Europe, less than 30% of households have children, the report states.

Even so, governments and businesses globally are increasingly reconsidering how best to support working parents. This growing trend reflects their increased awareness that employee wellbeing benefits both the workforce as well as the financial health of economies and individual companies.

The following list, although not definitive or exhaustive, reflects the growing focus on enhancing parental leave over the past 12 to 18 months.

Key details

Country Leave
Austria New paternity leave entitlement of 28 to 31 days (at the claimant's discretion) as of March 1, 2017, paid by the regional health fund
Canada Alberta: Maternity leave increased from 15 to 16 weeks as of January 1, 2018 (pay replacement benefits are provided by employment insurance)
Chile New paid leave entitlement of up to 90 days as of February 1, 2018, to care for a child with a serious health condition, paid for by social security and funded by an employer contribution of 0.03% of payroll from 2020
Costa Rica Proposal introduced to establish new entitlement of five days’ paid paternity leave, funded like maternity leave (50/50 between employer and social security)
Cyprus New paternity leave entitlement of two consecutive weeks as of August 2017 with pay replacement benefits provided by social security on same basis as maternity leave
Czech Republic New provisions for seven days of paternity leave payable by social security as of February 1, 2018 (at 70% of average daily covered earnings)
Dominican Republic Maternity leave increased from 12 to 14 weeks as of February 9, 2017 (pay replacement benefits are provided by social security)
Hong Kong Proposed increase in employer-paid paternity leave from three to five days
India Employer-paid maternity leave increased from 12 to 26 weeks for the first two children as of April 1, 2017; new provisions for 12 weeks of paid leave for the adoption of infants
Ireland Proposals for two weeks’ paid parental leave from 2019 (pay replacement benefits provided by social security)
Israel Maternity leave paid by social security increased from 14 to 15 weeks as of January 1, 2017
Italy Compulsory paternity leave increased from two to four days as of January 1, 2018 (an additional day may be taken if the mother gives up a day of maternity leave)
Jersey Maternity leave increased from 18 to 26 weeks (the employer-paid portion at 100% of pay increasing from two to six weeks, with the remaining period provided by social security) and parental leave increased from two to 26 weeks (the first two weeks are employer-paid)
Luxembourg As of January 1, 2018, maternity leave increased from 16 to 20 weeks (pay replacement benefits provided by social security) and employer-paid paternity leave increased from two to 10 days (costs recoverable from social security from day three)
New Zealand Effective July 1, 2018, paid primary-carer leave (combined maternity/paternity leave) increased from 18 to 22 weeks; set to increase again to 26 weeks from July 1, 2020
Panama New paternity leave entitlement of three days of employer-paid leave as of May 23, 2017
Peru Employer-paid paternity leave increased from four to 10 consecutive days as of June 20, 2018 (in the event of complications at birth, it may be extended to 20 or 30 consecutive days)
Singapore Government-paid adoption leave increased from four weeks to 12 weeks as of July 1, 2017
Slovenia Paid paternity leave set at 30 days as of January 2018 payable by social security at 90% of covered earnings, subject to the same maximum benefit as maternity leave
South Africa Legislation in parliament, expected to become effective by October 2018, to provide 10 days of paternity leave, with pay replacement benefits provided by the Unemployment Insurance Fund, as well as 10 weeks of leave for adoption and surrogacy benefits
South Korea New entitlement of three days' leave for infertility treatment as of May 29, 2018 (the first day is employer-paid; days two and three are unpaid; parental leave allowance from social security increased from 40% to 80% of covered pay from January 2018)

Employer implications

Employers should review their leave policies to ensure compliance in countries they operate in, and might want to examine their global or regional family leave policies and practices to promote equitable treatment among all employees.

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