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The period for obtaining paternity leave is extended by the Parliament

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Unanimously voted on Thursday, by the Plenary Session of the Parliament, the proposal to extend the period during which fathers are entitled to apply for paternity leave of two weeks. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the AKEL Parliamentary Group by MPs Andreas Kafkalias, Christos Christofias and George Koukoumas.

The proposal, voted by the Plenary, provides that the period during which the right to paternity leave can be exercised, is extended from 16 weeks to 52, and the right to receive paternity allowance is extended for a corresponding period. As a result, a new father will be able to take two weeks of paternity leave, up to two weeks after the end of his or her newborn child's maternity leave.

The purpose of the proposal was to strengthen the possibility of exercising the right to obtain paternity leave, as, as mentioned during the discussion of the issue in the meetings of the Labor Committee of Parliament, in 2020 in a total of 9,500 births were submitted about 6,500 applications for maternity leave. applications for paternity leave amounted to around 3,500.

The rapporteurs of the proposal argued that in some cases of couples, the parents do not have the financial means to receive the maternity and paternity leave they are entitled to at the same time, as for this period their respective allowances are limited to 72% of their salary. therefore the couple's total income decreases at a time when their expenses are increasing due to the birth of the newborn. They also argued that the proposed arrangements help to balance work and family life, to combat gender stereotypes in the care of infants, and to strengthen the relationship between father and infant.

Speaking at the plenary session, the Speaker of Parliament, Annita Dimitriou, said that it was important that such a proposal was made by male MPs, although the Secretary General and AKEL MP, Stefanos Stefanou, clarified that the political perception behind of the proposal is more important than the gender of the Members who formulated it.

MPs from all parties who took part in the voting process underlined the importance of strengthening the role of the father in the upbringing of children and the elimination of gender discrimination in this area, while all stressed that there is still much to be done. are made in this direction.

EDEK MP, Andreas Apostolou, said that the proposal, through the discussion in the Labor Committee of the Parliament, was co-formed by all those involved. He pointed out, however, that much more needs to be done in this direction, such as reducing the period during which applications for such permits are considered, and argued that even for low-wage earners, 100% of the salary should be paid as a bonus, but and the extension of the 22-week period for maternity leave for the first child. From the podium, he welcomed the intention of the Minister. Introduce a bill for paid parental leave, leave for parents caring for children with disabilities or chronically ill patients, and flexible arrangements for young mothers to work.

“I am glad because in recent years, through the cooperation of the executive and the legislature, we have taken steps forward, with the plans for the first residence of young couples, with the framework for a minimum wage and better jobs, the provisions for children with disabilities and chronic diseases “, said Mr. Apostolou. He also stressed that the non-transferable paternity leave strengthens equality in responsibilities and rights, since by supporting mothers and wives, but also the household and the home in general, men in practice confirm their intention to balance work and family life. .

The Member of Parliament for Ecologists, Alexandra Attalidou, said that balancing work and family life is a great challenge, especially for new parents and young employees, with extended working hours. “It is an important factor that contributes to the under-representation of women in the labor market,” she said, explaining that women with children tend to work fewer hours in paid work and spend more time in unpaid care responsibilities, which ultimately leads to and their withdrawal from the labor market. “Extending the paternity leave period will reverse a situation that has had a negative effect on fathers taking on an equal share of care responsibilities and will help alter low rates of paternity leave,” he added.

He welcomed the proposal, both because it reinforces the view that the responsibility for raising children is shared by both mothers and fathers, and because it shows that young fathers need to connect with their children in an experiential way. He concluded that “policies should aim to address the issue of stereotypes in the professions and roles of men and women and the social partners should be encouraged to fulfill their social role by informing employees, men and women”. p>

DIPA MP Christos Senekis lamented the fact that only 1/3 of the young fathers applied for paternity leave in 2020. “The fact that the number of people who will apply for paternity leave and allowance is likely to increase, while this right potentially affects everyone,” he said.

aimed at reducing the number of applicants and stressed that “these perceptions are completely wrong and confirm the long road we have to go to achieve even the most basic reconciliation of family and professional life.”

AKEL MP, Andreas Kafkalias, following the position of Mr. Senekis, wished that there would be no unpleasant surprises after the vote, with a referral or report by the government. Commenting on the family support policies in Cyprus, he said that he occupies an not at all honorable position in UNICEF research in 41 countries, since he is ranked in the last three positions.

He stressed that much remains to be done, such as the introduction of paid parental leave, the increase of maternity leave for the first child, the expansion of state childcare structures, subsidizing the cost of care based on socio-economic criteria, the review and restructuring of child and orphan benefits , ending arrears and implementing an effective housing program for young families.

“We know that the proposal we are submitting does not overturn the above,” he said, but said it was a small step to support the family and in the best interests of the child. He concluded that the next step will be to remove an injustice and distortion, as he characterized it, in order to give the right of paternity leave to couples who are not married or have entered into a cohabitation agreement.

DISY MP, Dimitris Dimitriou, said that after the institutionalization of paternity leave and the extension of maternity leave for the second and third child, the need arose for the revision of paternity leave. “In my opinion, what matters most is the fact that we give a father the right to be alone with his child for two weeks,” he said, explaining that it is not just a leave to support the mother. He added that the forthcoming bill for paid parental leave, which will strengthen the reconciliation of family and professional life, is of particular importance, while he confirmed that a bill will be granted that will grant the right of paternity leave to fathers who have not been married or have a cohabitation agreement with the mothers of their children.

Source: KYPE

Source: politis.com.cy

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