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Two week paternity leave on cards after initiative withdrawn

Man dresses a baby
Happy with two weeks statutory paternity leave? © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

A proposal to introduce a four-week statutory paternity leave in Switzerland will not go to a nationwide vote after all. But parliament has already agreed a compromise to allow new fathers two weeks off work in future.

Campaigners on Wednesday said they had decided to withdraw their people’s initiative, which had attracted enough signatures from the public to force a vote. The move comes after parliament last month agreed a compromise reform including a two-week paternity leave.

This compromise solution can now be implemented with the withdrawal of the initiative. 

Supporters of the initiative explained their u-turn by arguing that their proposal had succeeded in triggering a broad discussion in society about family policy. In addition, the group wants to support efforts to introduce a so-called statutory parental leave, to be split mothers and fathers.

The initiativeExternal link “For reasonable paternity leave – for the benefit of the whole family”, launched by a broad alliance of trade unions, family, men’s and women’s groups, was submitted to the federal authorities with about 130,000 signatures. Both parliament and the government had recommended rejection of the initiative.

It wasn’t until 2005 that statutory maternity leave was introduced in Switzerland – a full six decades after the benefit was enshrined in the country’s constitution.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR