Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech lower house of Parliament on Wednesday passed an amendment that could extend the paid paternity leave for fathers, local media reported.
The bill, which seeks to extend the current 10-day leave to two full weeks, will now head to the Senate for a vote.
Czech fathers to receive 14-day paid paternity leave under new rules
The amendment received the support of 105 MPs out of 109 present during the extraordinary session.
Supported by lawmakers from across the political spectrum, the new rules seek to allow fathers to spend more time with their newborn child and promote a greater balance in the involvement of mothers and fathers in household chores and activities.
Czech fathers would now be able to take 14 days off work within the first six weeks following the birth of their child, while receiving 70% of their base salary during that time.
In comparison, Czech mothers can claim a 28-week maternity leave followed by a parental leave available until the child reaches the age of four.
Work-life balance in focus
While the scheme has often been lauded as one of the most generous in Europe to allow mothers to care for their young child, some critics pointed out that it contributed to Czech women putting their career on hold for longer, fueled greater inequality between men and women in terms of household distribution and work-life balance, and could also explain why the Czech Republic has one of the highest gender wage gaps in the EU.
The Czech amendment passed this week goes further than the EU directive on work-life balance which states that, by spring 2022, all EU member countries should have introduced a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave.
Paternity leave – also available in cases of adoption – in the Czech Republic was already prolonged from 7 to 10 days two years ago.
If approved by the Senate, the amendment will have to be signed by President Milos Zeman to come into force.