A group of Spanish fathers has gone to court to demand equal paternity leave to their wives – 16 weeks.
The eight fathers protested in Madrid on Tuesday accompanied by their partners and babies in prams.
“At the moment we take complete responsibility of raising the children and it isn’t fair,” Marta Jiménez, one of the protestors, told Spanish daily El País.
The protestors carried signs that declared “end maternity leave discrimination” and “equal rights with 100 percent pay”.
The couples asked Madrid’s social security office for permission to take equal parental leave towards the end of 2015, but none have had any response, prompting the legal bid.
They chose to present their lawsuit this week for an important symbolic reason: it is Father’s Day in Spain this coming weekend.
“It seems completely fair to protest for equal leave to look after our children because it is a task that requires a lot of time and dedication,” said Raúl Sánchez.
The group of parents were joined by members and lawyers from Ppiina – the Platform for Equal and Untransferable Leave for Births and Adoptions.
Ppiina said in a statement that the fathers’ demands were based on the Spanish constitution, as well as the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Both “prohibit any discrimination for reasons of gender and enshrine the right of equality between men and women in all areas”, the statement said.
In Spain, news mothers are entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave while new fathers get 15 days paternity leave. Women can give up some or all of the last 10 weeks of their maternity leave to their partners, but very few choose to do so.
In 2015 only 1.8 percent of Spanish fathers made use of the 10 weeks that new mothers can transfer to their partners according to figures from Spain’s Ministry of Employment and Social Security.