As of the January 1 2020, Dads in Spain can now enjoy 12 weeks leave on the birth of a child. Increasing the paternity leave by four weeks more than in 2019.
This extension of paternity leave in Spain came into force last April through the Royal Decree-Law 6/2019 on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between men and women in employment and occupation approved by Pedro Sánchez’s government.
The new law states that of the 12 weeks leave, the first four must be taken without interruption immediately after the birth; however the remaining eight weeks may be taken, without interruption, at any time from after the birth until the child’s first birthday. The paid leave is strictly only for the father and can not be transferred in any way to the mother.
As established in the approved measure, the first four weeks after birth must be taken immediately after birth and simultaneously with the maternity leave of the mother. This norm which does not permit the parents to take turns during the first weeks after birth has been met with criticism among some associations and also by the far -left political party Unidos Podemos.
The extension of paternity leave from 8 to 12 weeks in 2020 will cost the State 336 million euros more, according to estimates that the government included in the Budget Plan sent to Brussels last October 15.
Between the both parents, the maternity and paternity leave will tally up a total of 705 million euro a year for the State.
Latest statistics from the Ministry of Labour reflect that there were 120,973 maternity and 150,750 paternity benefits in 2019.
Interestingly there are more men receiving the benefits than women, however this is attributed to the fact that there are more men in employment than women and therefore qualify for the benefit more readily than women.
Paternity leave in Spain was first recognised in the Organic Law 3/2007, of March 22, for the Effective Equality of Women and Men, which defined it as “an individual and exclusive right of the father, which is recognised both in cases of biological paternity and in those of adoption and fostering”.
Until then, the rights of the father were covered by article 37b of the Workers’ Statute, which was approved and published in the Official State Gazette for the first time in 1980. It recognized the father’s right to two days, which could be extended to four in the event of “death, serious accident or illness, hospitalization or surgery”