The Travail Suisse union federation has called for new fathers to be given more paternity leave after a study showed Swiss men were given little time off.
The cross-cantonal study by the federation found that only half of public employers give fathers “real” paternal leave of five to ten days. The rest are offered one to three days.
Maternity leave on the other hand tended to be longer than the minimum fixed by the law, with women receiving an average 16 weeks at 100 per cent, instead of the 14 weeks at 80 per cent. This imbalance is also found among private employers.
The city of Lausanne offers the most paternity leave (21 days) while Neuchâtel and the cantons of Obwalden and St Gallen offer just one day off.
Travail Suisse recommended men be given 20 days paternity leave. Standards should be harmonised, it says, and paternal leave given equal weight. It proposes such leave be paid and allowed to be taken on a flexible basis.
This would anchor in law the idea that men also have a role to play with newborn children, Valérie Boriolo Sandow, in charge of equal rights at the federation, said.
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