Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic will soon extend the annual paid paternity leave from 7 to 10 days, Expats.cz reported, in order to comply with a new EU directive that seeks to ensure a greater balance among parents in the care of their children.
Czech Republic to introduce longer paternity leave
Many EU countries have introduced, if at all, very restrictive and limited paternity leaves, creating a significant gender employment gap between men and women who decide to have children.
Under current Czech law, for instance, women are entitled to a 28-week maternity leave, followed by a parental leave available until the child reaches the age of three.
The first seven-day paid paternity leave was introduced in the Czech Republic in February last year, allowing fathers to receive up to 70% of their current salary while taking days off to take care of their new-born child.
Although boasting one of the most generous parental leave schemes in the EU, the Czech Republic also reports a gender employment gap of nearly 16 percentage points, the fifth highest in the EU.
Quite logically, the Czech Republic also has one of the biggest gender wage gaps: 22%, the second highest among OECD economies, only topped by Estonia (25% difference between men and women).
EU adopts directive on work-life balance to promote gender equality
The EU directive on work-life balance seeks to even things out, at least partly, by implementing an EU-wide paternity leave of at least 10 days.
According to the EU Commission, which presented its first proposal over two years ago, the female employment rate is still on average 11.5 percentage points lower than men, a gender employment gap that amounts to a “loss” of some €370 billion every year.
European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans argued that the EU directive on work-life balance was important to give “women and men the right to play an equal role at home and in the workplace”.
According to a joint statement released by Timmermans and EU Commissioners Marianne Thyssen and Vera Jourova, “this is not only about strengthening the rights of individuals. The new rules are a model for how to align social and economic priorities […] Better work-life balance for both women and men is not only the fair, but also the smart thing to do”.
Apart from the introduction of the parental leave across the EU, the directive on work-life balance includes a number of other measures, like the extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements for all working parents and the strengthening of the right to four months of parental leave.
To learn more about what the new European directive entails for parents all over Europe, you can check the EU Commission fact-sheet.
The changes recently adopted at the EU level must be introduced at the national level by early August 2022 at the latest.