Spain Implements New Paternity Leave Policies

With the addition of four additional weeks of required paid leave, paternity leave is changing in Spain. As of Jan. 1, 2021, new fathers in Spain receive 16 weeks of paid leave, making the country’s paternity and maternity leave policies equal.

The changes have been years in the making in Spain. Prior to March 2019, paternity leave in Spain was only five weeks.

Here’s a quick timeline of events within the last three years that led to today’s changes.

  • March 7, 2019: Spanish fathers begin receiving 8 weeks of paternity leave.
  • Jan. 1, 2020: 12 weeks of paternity leave is introduced in Spain.
  • Jan. 1, 2021: Phase three of the paternity law changes is implemented, with Spanish paternity and maternity leave now set equally at 16 weeks

Another interesting fact about Spain’s paternity and maternity leave policies is that part-time workers are also qualify for the paid benefits. Six weeks of each parents leave must be taken immediately after delivery, but after that, parents can split the time, as long as they each finish their 16 weeks of leave by the baby’s first year of life.

Funding the new policy
Individual businesses in Spain aren’t responsible for paying for the paternity or maternity leave; instead, social security pays the employee’s subsidy during paternity leave. Employers are only responsible for social taxes and withholdings to fund the program to cover the costs of a worker’s responsibilities during leave.

How Spain’s Policy Compares to Other Countries
Paternity and Maternity policies vary across the world, with Estonia offering the highest amount of paid paternity leave, at 86 weeks, for new fathers. That’s more than half a year! Several other countries, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Norway, and Slovenia, also offer almost a year’s worth of paid leave, as well.

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