Spain mulls whether single parents should get double parental leave

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 14 Feb, 2023 Updated Tue 14 Feb 2023 11:20 CEST
Spain mulls whether single parents should get double parental leave
Spain considers extending parental leave for single parents. Photo: Pexels / Pixabay

Spain gives mothers and fathers 16 weeks of fully-paid parental leave each, but Spanish courts are now considering whether it's discriminatory that single parents don't get the same amount of accumulated leave with their babies.


The Spanish Supreme court is considering extending the current leave of 16 weeks to 26 weeks or even 32 weeks for single-parent families, in order to avoid discriminating against children that grow up in households with one parent, rather than those that have two.

According to the latest stats, 10 percent of households in Spain are run by single parents and 80 percent of these are women.

Requests for extensions to parental leave at the National Social Security Institute (INSS) are automatically rejected, so those single parents who want theirs extended must go to their regional courts instead. 

READ ALSO: Five things you should know about Spain’s new Family Law

In some regions such as Catalonia, the Basque Country and Extremadura, the courts have allowed the extension of parental leave, but in others such as Navarra and the Canary Islands, the courts are denying it.


Some courts will grant the benefit, but with a limit of 26 weeks, adding together the time that is usually enjoyed jointly by the father and mother. Other courts, however, reject it completely as it’s not covered in the law, while others still grant up to 32 weeks.

Recently, the Canary Island High Court of Justice reversed a decision it made in 2021 to grant a single parent an extension of 26 weeks of maternity leave.

READ ALSO - Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?

The court defended its decision saying that "It is not the function of courts, which is only to judge and enforce the law".

All eyes are now on the Spanish Supreme Court to make a ruling on the issue so that regional courts can follow suit. 

It is expected that they will make a decision before the end of 2023, as the rate of single-parent households in Spain continues to increase at a rate never seen before.

There are currently several other benefits single parents in Spain can currently apply for from tax deductions to housing benefits and aid to help pay for energy bills. 

But groups such as the Federation of Single Mothers (FAMS) have warned that up to 70 percent of single-parent households could be left "unprotected" by Spain's new Family Law as some of the benefits it brings only apply to single parents with two or more children, not just one.

Fifty-four percent of single-parent households in Spain are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, twice the amount as for families with two parents. 


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