The Spanish government wants to give workers in Spain nine days’ paid leave a year to care for close family members or people with whom they share a home. They will also have five free days in the event of their closest relatives having a serious accident or illness which means they have to be admitted to hospital and another four working days off each year, which can also be taken as hours, to deal with urgent family problems which need immediate attention such as a trip to A&E or unexpected health problems even if these are not serious.
These are some of the measures included in the draft Family Law which has just received initial approval from the Council of Ministers but it still has a way to go before coming into force.
The new law seeks to guarantee equal rights for any model of coexistence and incorporate new periods of leave and benefits for care within households and specific benefits for the most vulnerable families, especially single-parent families, but also those with disabled members, dependents and victims of gender violence.
The new regulation decrees real equality in all types of family that exist in Spain (married couple, civil partnership, single parent, LGTB, children from other relationships and fostered and adopted children, among others), but there is a risk that it will not get the go-ahead in this legislature unless the government can speed the process up.
The law has been demanded for some time by the most vulnerable families in Spain, but it is in the present situation due to a political tug of war between the two parties in the coalition government, and numerous restrictions from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Security which have meant that it was unable to proceed in its original form. This has delayed its progress by more than six months.
Ione Belarra, the Minister of Social Affairs, who drew up the bill, is convinced that there is still time to get it through, despite the rush. She says it could still be published in the Official State Gazette before prime minister Pedro Sánchez dissolves parliament next autumn for the next general election.