The traps of paternity leave that stop men’s co-responsibility



Since January, parents can enjoy 16 weeks leave paid for the birth or adoption of their children, but regulations make it difficult to co-responsibility -that men fully assume the role of caregiver-, since it forces them to spend six weeks with the mother and leaves it up to the companies to decide when they can take the rest of the leave, so the organizational needs of the family.

Parents are obliged to take the first six weeks after childbirth simultaneously and then they have one year to be able to take the other ten, but that decision must have the approval of the company: “It is a defective rule that continues to be vulnerable to the resistance of some businessmen to do without men,” laments the spokeswoman for the Platform for Equal and Non-transferable Birth and Adoption Permits (Ppiina), Mercedes Cano.

Nine months after the 16-week permits come into effect equal and non-transferable, they begin to know each other cases of pressure on male workers to return to work, lack of approval of the organization of the care time requested by the employee and even induction to give up the 10 voluntary weeks to take care of the newborn child. Thus, in practice, it is perpetuated that the woman assumes the weight of the cityoy the role of economic provider of man is reinforced, curbing his involvement and desire to care.

In the hands of entrepreneurs

“There are traps in the regulations: apparently it is a law that tries to establish equality in care, real co-responsibility, but when push comes to shove prevents men from taking leave equally. To begin with, they have to agree with the company to take the time that is not mandatory and that means that the company can say no to them, “says Cano.

“After the six weeks of compulsory leave, you have to negotiate with human resources or with the supervisor how and when the remaining 10 weeks will be taken. (…) There are companies that force men to take leave on time. partial, who tell them that at the requested moment it comes very badly because they are closing a project or because it is better for them to take it within a month. It’s not family needs that count, but those of the company which decide the use of the permit “, explains the professor of Sociology at UNED Teresa Jurado to THE PERIODIC OF SPAIN.

From the Ppiina they denounce that “they are meeting with companies that put obstacles“to men, even that there are small businesses in which they pressure the worker not to take all the leave to which he is entitled by law. In women, the role of maternal caregiver is taken for granted, a differentiation that has serious and structural consequences for your career.

No data

Men want to take care of their children, enjoy these permits. According to Social Security data, between January and September of this year, more men than women Accessed this benefit -the employment rate is higher among them than among them-: 166,055 mothers and 182,337 people who are the second parent (mainly men). However, the Ministry of Inclusion does not detail how the parents are taking the non-mandatory part of these permits: if it is complete, in one go or fractional, if it coincides with the mother or alternating with her, its duration …

“Men do want to take paternity leave. (…) But if that is going to make them have to risk their jobs, no,” Cano underlines.

Professor Jurado, coordinator in Spain of the European initiative Men in Care, emphasizes that “gender and socialization mandates” mark the men as main economic providers, something that is “deeply ingrained and internalized”, and the possibility of losing income can lead them to think that they will not fulfill this obligation. For this reason, he continues, conciliation measures must be the same for everyone and only those that do not have an economic penalty or that are minimal will work in a balanced way. They are the ones who mostly ask for reductions in working hours, work part-time and request leave of absence for childcare.

In the statement of reasons for the legal reform to obtain equal and non-transferable paid leave for both parents, the objectives of ending the criminalization of women in the labor market as a consequence of motherhood and the need to promote family co-responsibility.

In the legal text it can be read that the reform “takes an important step in achieving real and effective equality between men and women, in promoting the reconciliation of personal and family life, and in the principle of co-responsibility between both parentsBoth essential elements for the fulfillment of the principle of equal treatment and opportunities between men and women in all areas “.

“The father click”

However, the scope of the measures is not as effective as intended due to two “traps”: the first, the aforementioned that the companies decide on permits, and the second, the obligation for both parents to agree on their permits during the first six weeks.

“Is a loss of economic resources and interferes with the partner’s ability to take turns. If I want to take care of the baby at home for as long as possible before he goes to nursery school, it is best to take turns, and this obligation shortens the period, “says the Sociology teacher.

In the same sense, the Ppiina spokesperson defends that the members of the couple are the ones who distribute the leave as it suits them: “For the rule to have the impact of generating equality and co-responsibility it should make it easier for the couples to decide when do they catch it and encourage parents to be alone with the baby as long as possible to ensure that he spends as much time as possible at home. “

“It is a very ineffective way of investing the money that has been put into play so that parents have 100% paid leave, of making it less effective than it could be,” he adds.

The jury specifies that care is only learned when the person has to take care of and take responsibility for the baby alone, hence the importance of taking turns in caring and not overlapping permissions: “When the mother is always present, due to gender mandates it will be she the one who takes the most responsibility“.

And instead of promoting the role of caregiver parent who takes responsibility and shares the mental burden of care, the role of helper or caregiver continues. “father pinche”, laments the Ppiina spokeswoman, and does not break with the sexual division of work.

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