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New attempt to introduce paid maternity leave

New mothers in Switzerland must rely on employers' generosity for maternity benefits


Parliament has called on the government to draft a new proposal to introduce paid maternity leave. The move comes a year after the Swiss rejected a similar initiative in a nationwide vote.

The Senate on Wednesday passed the motion for the introduction of 14 weeks paid maternity leave. The House of Representatives approved the proposal earlier this year.

It envisages that maternity insurance would be financed partly through contributions by employers and partly by the federal government.

Last year voters turned down a proposal for paid maternity leave for all mothers for the third time, leaving Switzerland as one of the few industrialised countries without maternity benefits.

Under current law, individual employers are under no obligation to grant paid maternity leave to young mothers.

According to the constitution, the federal government is obliged to set up a maternity insurance scheme. This is because of legal loophole dating back to the last century, when an eight-week work ban was introduced for young mothers as a form of social protection.

swissinfo with agencies

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