Switzerland’s government been grappling with the politics of extending universal tax-funded parental leave for a number of years.
Some are pushing for paternity leave for fathers and others for a shared pool of parental leave, which mums and dads can apportion.
There is also a popular vote working its way through the system which aims to create four weeks of paid leave specifically for fathers.
Recently, Philipp Müller put forward a motion for 16 weeks of shared parental leave, arguing that separate maternity and paternity leave is too rigid and outdated, according to Le Matin. Under his plan eight weeks would be reserved for the mother and eight weeks would be shared between the father and mother as wished.
However, the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, rejected Müller’s plan by 23 votes to 10.
Switzerland has signed the International Labour Organisation convention, which includes a minimum of 14 weeks paid leave for mothers. The maternity leave in Philipp Müller’s motion falls short of this, something pointed out by Alain Berset.
In addition, the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, would prefer to see more money spent on nurseries than on paternity or parental leave, and parliament has already voted in favor of adding two weeks of paid paternity leave alongside an existing 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Currently there is no paid leave for fathers in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s parliament is scheduled to discuss the issue again on 27 September 2019.