Under a new EU directive, parental leave could become mandatory for fathers

The new initiative would require each parent to spend at least two months on parental leave in order to receive full benefits

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 12.08.2020 12:26 (updated on 12.08.2020)

The European Union is pushing for member states to extend parental leave benefits and make benefits mandatory for fathers as well as mothers, meaning both parents would be required to take some amount of leave. If this condition is not met, the total amount of parental leave compensation granted could be reduced.

The new initiative, established by an EU directive last year, would give both parents the right to spend at least four months on parental leave, and require each parent to spend a minimum of two months on leave. The exact parameters of the new parental leave regulations are to be established and set forth by Czech legislators by 2022.

“The aim is to introduce the same minimum standards in EU countries and financially motivate fathers to stay at home with their children for at least some time,” Viktor Daněk, Czech Radio’s correspondent in Brussels, told Rozhlas.cz.

“The directive, which was approved by MEPs a year ago, introduces the right of every parent to spend at least 4 months on parental leave, of which two months cannot be transferred between parents.”

Currently in the Czech Republic, mothers are entitled to 28 weeks of maternity leave at 70 percent of their salary, while fathers get seven working days at 70 percent of their salary in paternity leave, a new measure that was enacted in 2018. The new EU directive would also up Czech paternity leave to ten days.

Beyond that, the Czech Republic grants parents 300,000 CZK in parental leave compensation that can be taken over a maximum of four years. This can be taken by either parent in agreement with their employer and shared between parents, but in practice is largely utilized by mothers.

The new EU directive would ensure that fathers take at least some portion of the parental leave, as well. The new initiative would give fathers greater financial and personal reasons to stay home with their children for multiple weeks.

“Typically, fathers who earn more want to spend two months with their young child,” Olga Richterová (Pirates party), vice-chairwoman of the Social Policy Committee, told Rozhlas.cz.