Government agrees to bring paternity leave in line with time-off for new mothers

Increased paternity leave entitlement comes in next month as part of a raft of new measures.
Increased paternity leave entitlement comes in next month as part of a raft of new measures. / SUR
  • The move is among express, royal decrees issued recently which touch on areas of welfare policy and which rival political parties have criticised

The government published a royal decree this week extending paternity leave for new dads from five to eight weeks, although it won't come properly into force until 1 April. It is one of a raft of measures approved by the Spanish Cabinet using this express legislative route ahead of elections next month.

The new paternity leave rules say that the amount being taken will rise to the same as women from eight weeks this year to 12 weeks in 2020 and 16 weeks in 2021. They won't just be applied to births, but also to adoptions of children under a year. By 2021, a father will take six weeks after the birth and the remaining 10 weeks until the child is one, which can be spread out part time.

Both parents can now also have an hour off a day until the child is nine months old to give milk or, alternatively, accumulate them as extra days of leave.

Criticism of use of decree

The government has issued several other royal decrees recently, which are a form of government order applied more or less immediately and then voted on by Congreso later. Designed for emergencies, there has been criticism this week from rival parties that ministers are using them too much as a form of electioneering ahead of 28 April's general election.

Although Congreso was dissolved this week ahead of the election, a permanent committee is still sitting to attend to legislative business.

As well as approving measures to protect British citizens in the event of a hard Brexit (see page 14), decrees agreed last week included a revision to property rental law after it had been rejected by Congreso twice before.

Rental contract changes

Among the new rules are that minimum contract periods go up to five years from three years for private renters and tourist-home rentals become a regional responsibility. Residents can now say no to tourist rentals in their block or street if three fifths of the "comunidad" is against.

The government has also decreed that social security payments will continue to be paid where people are forced to stop work to look after a dependent person, and that companies with 50 staff must keep a register of pay levels of men and women to prove they are doing more to reduce any salary gap.