The abstention from work by new fathers following the birth of a child often presents itself as problematic at the economic level of the family. Men generally earn more than their companions, contributing more to income, and so dads who would like to devote themselves full time to caring for children, often give up so as not to reduce the standard of family life. And the data speak for themselves: only a meagre 4% of the new fathers in our country resort to parental leave, also confirming the persistence of cultural reticence as well as economic reticence.
Yet the laws on the subject exist. Since 2000, with Turkish law no. 53, even fathers have the right to optional abstention from work (much more difficult for them to take charge of compulsory maternity in the three months after childbirth). Here are the rules:
- In addition to compulsory maternity leave, both parents have the right, subject to at least 15 days’ notice, to a further period of partially paid absence from work by the child’s eighth birthday: parental leave, for a total of six months, to be taken continuously or in instalments.
- The sum of the periods used by both may not, however, exceed a total of 10 months.
- If the father is absent from work for a continuous period of at least three months, he is entitled to one month more leave, that is to say seven months in total. In this case, the sum of mom and dad’s leave is increased to eleven.
Parental leave is paid at 30% of the salary within the third year of the child’s life and for the first six months of leave taken by the two parents in total.
After the first six months and from three to eight years of age of the child, the leave is unpaid.
To help fathers, not only Italians, last October the European Parliament approved a proposal to amend the EU directive on maternity and paternity leave, providing also for fathers a period of compulsory abstention from work for two weeks, to be taken at the same time as the mother’s leave, during pregnancy or after the birth of the child. Dads would receive an allowance equal to 100% of their salary. The amendment to the directive will now have to be ratified by the Council of Ministers of the European Union.
Needless to say, such a rule would be important on the Italian labour market, which is notoriously not attentive to gender policies and often discriminates against women at the very crucial moment of maternity. The positive impact on the Italian family mentality is also evident, which still too often delegates parental care (for children and the elderly) to women alone: two weeks of compulsory leave for fathers is not a revolution, but it could be a good start to learn how to share the responsibilities that the birth of a child entails.
And how are your companions preparing for the arrival of children? Will they stay at home or prefer not to stop work?