surinenglish

Dads of first born in 2017 start to enjoy extended paternity leave

Four happy dads and their babies on the ward in Malaga's maternity hospital this week. :: f.g.
Four happy dads and their babies on the ward in Malaga's maternity hospital this week. :: f.g.
  • From 1 January, fathers can take up to one month off work, double the previous amount, as Spain starts to catch up with other countries

Fathers of newborn babies are already enjoying a month off work after the government announced before Christmas that it was doubling the amount of paternity leave.

Previously dads could only take two weeks off but this has been increased to one month from the New Year. The new measure was meant to have come in three years ago, however it was delayed due to budget restraints.

The government has finally brought in the change as part of its recent legislative pact with centre-right modernizing party, Ciudadanos. It is estimated that it will cost an extra 235 million euros a year to implement.

The eventual aim of the agreement between the two parties is for time off for dads to equal the 16 weeks statutory maternity leave.

New parents who have started to enjoy the extra benefit have reacted positively to the news.

Enjoying being a new parent in Malaga's Hospital Materno, alongside other fathers, Antonio García said, "Dad is a key part of the family, especially in the first few days".

Leave is also available for adoptions or fostering and the self-employed can also opt for the benefit.

Spain is still towards the bottom of the list of other European countries in terms of the amount of time awarded to parents. Sweden heads the list with 16 months total leave and Norway gives 12 months.