SIX years after the Spanish government approved a measure to increase paternity leave to one month, new dads are still waiting for it to be put into effect and it is unlikely to happen before 2017.
In Malaga Province more than 7,100 men take leave each year after the birth or adoption of a new child, costing the state coffers around €5.2 million, and since 2011 when the increase to four weeks was due to be put into effect, around 30,000 new dads in the province could have taken the extra time off work.
Yet the government continues to stall, claiming there are insufficient funds, and the measure has not been included in the 2016 budgets and has now been announced for January 1, 2017. Although Luz Rodriguez, PSOE socialist party’s Education Secretary, announced last week that her party would be proposing amendments to the budget, given the PP party’s absolute majority, this is unlikely to go through.
The Public Defender’s Office has also urged the government to avoid more delays to the measure following a complaint lodged by CSI-F last January. The union said the step is an important one towards balancing work and family life and complained that although the government insists it supports families, it continues to stall.
The promised yet elusive increase to four weeks would be just the first step towards a goal proposed by the Equality Commission and set by Congress to gradually increase paternity leave to match the 16 weeks mothers currently have the right to take.