The expected extension of paternity leave from five to eight weeks, which has kept thousands of families in the throes of giving birth this week, is postponed until April 1. Despite the fact that the royal decree law of urgent measures to guarantee equality, that includes the progressive extension of paternity leave, will enter into force this Friday, March 8 after its publication this Thursday in the BOE, It establishes in its final disposition three exceptions, one of which affects the star measure of the text. The extension of this permit for the officials is also delayed next month, as well as the modifications in the quota subsidies for the self-employed.
The text, approved last Friday in the Council of Ministers, expands paternity leave to eight weeks for births occurring in 2019, which will increase to 12 weeks in 2020 and to 16 weeks in 2021, when full match will be reached with maternity. This permission is non-transferable, so if the father does not enjoy it he can not assign it to the mother, and paid 100%, and places Spain at the head of Europe in this benefit. The budgetary impact for 2019 is calculated between 250 and 300 million; the total equalization, in 1,100 million, according to the Government, plus another 12 million for the officials.
Government sources justify the postponement of the need for Social Security to "adapt its operation to the new permit regime", since it establishes for the first time the obligation for the father to enjoy two weeks immediately after birth. That adaptation includes enabling the computer system and changing the concept of 'maternity leave' to 'birth permits'. The vice president, Carmen Calvo, has explained that the obligation requires "a small period of three weeks of adaptation of both Social Security, as well as the entire business fabric that is going to be affected." "It is necessary to be able to have everything adequate for the exercise of this right that yes that is going to transform much the panorama of the maternity in our country", it has added, in declarations to the journalists after an act on climatic justice.
During the week, the date of publication of the decree law in the BOE was delayed, from Tuesday 5 initial that had announced sources of the Government, to Wednesday and finally to this Thursday, alleging errors in the text that had to be corrected. But it was always counted on that the extension of paternity leave would be effective the day after publication. The delays have coincided with the entry into force of the rest of the measures, such as the obligation of companies to include a record of wages to avoid discrimination by sex, with Women's Day.
The expansion of the number of companies required to have equality plans will also be effective from this Friday. So far, the minimum threshold was 250 workers. With the new regulations, this bar decreases to 150 during the first year, the second to 100 and the third to 50. With the current levels, companies with equality plans employ 5.3 million; At the end of the transitional period, it will reach 7.7 million. The decree also includes the recovery of social contributions for caregivers of dependent persons.
The text has yet to be validated by the Permanent Deputation of the Congress, within a maximum period of 30 days from its entry into force. Citizens has already announced that it will not endorse any of the Government's decrees, while The PP also maneuvers to stop them.In order to prevent the decree from falling and returning to the previous regulation, the Government needs the support of the same forces that voted in favor of the motion of censure. Some of them, especially the PNV, have expressed their doubts in recent days, although it is unlikely that they will vote against the parties that in June 2018 unanimously supported discussing equal paternity and maternity leave. "If it is not urgent and necessary for young women and men, from now on to be able to live their fatherhood and motherhood in a better way, what is urgent and necessary in this country?" Said Calvo when asked if the Extension of the permit is in line with the "urgent need" of the royal decree.
The equalization of paternity and maternity leave seeks to reinforce the presence of men in care and that of women in the labor market, where they continue to be penalized when they become mothers. The decree law grants, from January 1, 2021, a compulsory and uninterrupted six-week leave for both parents after birth, and another 10 weeks for each to be distributed until the baby reaches one year. The first six weeks will be enjoyed full-time, while the other 10 may be distributed full-time or part-time. They can not be transferred.
Until then, paternity leave will be extended gradually, following a transitory regime regulated in this decree. Thus, parents who enjoy the permit from April 1 to the end of 2019 will have a mandatory period, which will be two uninterrupted weeks after delivery, while the other six weeks may be distributed during the first year of the baby. Mothers must rest for the first six weeks compulsorily, and may give up to four weeks of the remaining 10.
In 2020, parents will have the first four weeks of compulsory permission, and the remaining eight weeks will be able to distribute them during the following 12 months. Mothers can give up to two weeks of their permission, provided they are not within six weeks of compulsory leave.
The final version of the decree does not include the additional week that was expected to be granted to each parent when both exercised this right "with the same duration and regime", which was studied in previous drafts.