Convergence and Union MP Lourdes Ciuró wants the Spanish government to increase the country’s paternity leave to four weeks by January 2015 to replicate, if only slightly, the balance between Scandinavian mothers and fathers.
“If we don’t move forward in this respect, women’s professional development will continue to be hampered by an unfair model that allows men to not get involved in baby chores,” Ciuró argued following her proposal of the private member’s bill in Spain’s Parliament.
Spanish women receive 112 days fully-remunerated maternity leave and men just 15 days, putting Spain in 8th place in the EU paternity rankings.
Sweden leads the way with 480 days (16 months) shared between mothers and fathers, the first 390 days of which are remunerated at 80 percent of their total salary.
The country’s equality Minister even wants an extra 30 days to be added to the already compulsory two-month paternity leave Swedish dads have to take.
All the other Scandinavian countries – Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Norway – have similar forward-thinking policies with regard to the work-parenthood balance and consistently score high marks in Save the Children’s ‘Best Place to be a Mother’ yearly report.
Spain’s model is a far cry from the Scandinavian one, with grandparents often playing a more important role in the children’s upbringing both financially and in terms of quality time compared to the parents.
There are countries with even less paternity leave than Spain – Switzerland (3 days), Lithuania and Belgium (10 days), Slovenia (11 days) and Cyprus (no days) – and those with a more equal spread between mothers and fathers such as Germany (98 days for both) and Romania (126 days for both).