The Czech House has just approved an amendment to the “sickness insurance” act that would give fathers the opportunity to bond with their newborn child—and offer mothers a much-needed helping hand.
Under the terms of the new amendment, a paternity leave of seven days could be taken following the birth of a child; men will be able to choose one week, in the six weeks following the birth, during which they would draw benefits.
According to the existing rules, a father can draw a maternity leave or parental allowance, but not simultaneously with the mother; that will change under the new act.
Previously, most fathers took holiday or unpaid leave following the birth of a child.
(See the map below for which EU countries offer paid leave.)
Under the current Labour Code, fathers are entitled to paid leave only to transport the mother to the hospital or drive the family home. To attend the birth, fathers may take an unpaid leave.
Currently, just 1.8 % of Czech men take advantage of parental leave, despite being entitled to it.
The newly approved act does not qualify new fathers for additional time off work, but would provide a new batch of health insurance benefits for fathers that are independent of those being claimed by mothers.
Opponents of the act include Finance Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) who has said the new insurance would put high demands on the state budget.
According to Aktualne.cz, a father with a monthly salary of CZK 26,000 CZK would recieve about 4,200 CZK, while benefits for those with a gross salary of 15,000 CZK would slightly exceed 2,400 CZK; above-average earnings of 40,000 CZK gross would receive 5,600 CZK.
The new legislation is expected to see approval in the Senate; it would take effect as early as January or February 2018.