Recently, the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, voted 26 to 16 in favour of two weeks of paternity leave following the birth of a child, according to 20 Minutes.
At the same time, the Council of States rejected the idea of four weeks of paternity leave by 29 to 14.
Paternity leave has become a politically divisive topic in Switzerland.
Some argue that small companies will struggle to operate if key people take time out. Rather than impose a standard set of rules they would like to see more flexibility.
- Swiss government commission favours parental leave over paternity leave (Le News)
- Swiss federal government against tax funded paternity leave (Le News)
Others are against both paternity and maternity leave on the grounds that it is discriminatory. They’d prefer a pool of shared parental leave, as recommended by the federal commission for family issues (COFF).
Shared parental leave allows couples to freely choose how they configure their combined family and work lives. Separate pots of paternity and maternity leave incentivize a particular model that may be at odds with what some want, a system viewed by some as a form of social engineering.
Earlier this year COFF recommended 38 weeks of shared parental leave. Josef Dittli, a member of the PLR/FVP, supports the idea of six weeks of shared parental leave. The Federal Council, which rejects the idea of paternity leave, also favours shared parental leave.
Under current Swiss law, maternity leave is 14 weeks and paternity leave is zero.
The political debate on paternity leave in Switzerland has been boosted by an up-coming referendum on whether to introduce four weeks of paternity leave, which would be funded via salary deductions.