Fathers make up third of parental leave

Dads are staying at home with their children more in the summer according to statistics released by the social insurance office (Försäkringskassan).

Fathers make up third of parental leave

In August fathers represented a third of those on parental leave compared with 20 percent in December.

Paternity leave researcher Roger Klinth said the figures suggest that women are still the primary carer in the family with fathers taking control over when to take up their leave.

“Dad is more of a bonus figure and can come in when it suits him. It reflects a deeper pattern of who gets to choose and who get the remainder,” he told the TT news agency.

The numbers are a big increase compared to the early 90s when fathers made up just 10 percent of parents taking up paternity leave. To combat this the social insurance office launched a number of schemes to even out the balance like suggesting prolonging holidays with pappeledigt.

“This encouraged men to do exactly as the patterns are demonstrating,” said Klinth who is a professor of gender studies in Linköping university.

In total men’s overall use of paternity leave has grown to almost a quarter. Much of that is attributed to the mandatory two Dad months which was a key component of balancing out the leave among both parents.

Klinth added that he expects fathers to take up more parental responsibility in the future. He suggested that the leave should be broken up into three parts, one for each parent and one to be used as the family wishes.

“That would be a good compromise and a clear indication that the responsibility is expected to be shared.”

TT/The Local/pr

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Spain could raise parental leave to six months for both mothers and fathers

Spain’s Social Rights Minister wants to increase the parental leave Spanish mums and dads get for every newborn from the current 16 weeks to 24 weeks.

Spain could raise parental leave to six months for both mothers and fathers
Photo: David Straight/Unsplash

Spain’s Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra announced on Wednesday that her department intends to extend parental leave for fathers and mothers to 24 weeks, equal to six months for each parent. 

“This Ministry is going to fight for extending permits to six months and to extend child education from 0 to 3 years in the public network of infant schools,” Belarra said at a conference on Spain’s upcoming Family Diversity Law, which the six-month parental leave would form part of. 

According to Belarra, who has taken over from Pablo Iglesias as the head of the hard-left party Unidas Podemos, the Spanish government has “unfinished business with the families of newborn babies”.

“I’m aware of how incredibly difficult it is for many families to find a balance between parenting and work, especially in the first years of their child’s life”, she said, and “how difficult it is for many mothers to leave four-month-old babies with other people to go back to their jobs”.

Spain increased its paternity leave for fathers to 16 weeks in January 2021, equalling the leave mothers get, both of which are remunerated at 100 percent of their regulatory base salary.

The country has also come a long way in terms of parental leave, as in 2006 new dads were still only given two days off to be with their newborns.

READ MORE: New fathers in Spain can now enjoy 16 weeks paternity leave

But according to Belarra (pictured below), the current amount of parental leave is still causing “difficulties” when raising babies, in the country with the second lowest birth rate in the EU.


According to ministerial sources, the fact that a concrete amount of parental leave has been put forward as part of the Family Diversity draft law should facilitate negotiations with the socialist PSOE party that Unidas Podemos forms a government coalition with. 

Belarra is also pushing for child benefits for parents as a means of encouraging couples who are not having children “for financial reasons” or because “they don’t have a suitable home or stable job”. 

The child benefit should be available even to those who don’t make social security contributions, who as things stand can’t access government parenting aid, the Social Rights Minister added.

“This family diversity law goes to the root of the problem, to protect the material living conditions of families and to make it a little easier to raise kids.

“It cannot be that the fourth economy of the EU allocates almost one point less of its GDP to support their families than the average.

“In Spain, having children severely increases the risk of being poor,” the minister concluded.

A total of 22,182 fewer babies were born in Spain in 2020, with the latest fertility index showing that the average number of children per woman in the country is only 1.18.