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Baby break Parliament votes for two-week paternity leave

Man holding a newborn baby in his arms

How much statutory leave will dads in Switzerland be granted: Four weeks, two weeks, a or just a few days as under current regulations?

(Keystone/Gaetan Bally)

Fathers in Switzerland should receive two weeks’ paid leave after the birth of their child, parliament has decided. 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday followed the Senate and came out in favour of a fortnight’s paternity leave. It remains to be seen whether the initiators, who are demanding four weeks’ leave, will now withdraw their petition for a referendum. 

Parliamentarians debated various options. Should paternity leave remain at just one day? Should it be two, four or eight weeks? What about a parental leave modelled on neighbouring and Scandinavian countries – between 28 and 52 weeks, depending on the model? 

In the end, by 129 votes to 62 with one abstention, the House of Representatives voted in favour of the counterproposal to the popular initiative “For reasonable paternity leave – for the benefit of the whole family”. 

The counterproposal can thus be implemented if voters reject the original initiative or if the initiative committee withdraws it. 

Fathers could then take two weeks’ paid leave in the first six months after the birth of the child. Like maternity leave, this would be financed by the income replacement scheme. According to the government, estimated costs come to around CHF229 million ($231 million) a year.


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