While the Czech Republic currently has one of the most beneficial maternity leave systems in the world, there are currently no laws on the books regulating an official paternity leave.
That may soon change, however, as Czech government officials have submitted a proposal to parliament that details an official absence from work specifically for fathers.
“Support for families with children is important,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wrote on Twitter.
“We approved the so-called ‘Paternity leave’. We will allow fathers to stay at home with newborns for one week.”
The proposal details a single week that fathers will be allowed to spend with newborn children, without having to take vacation days or unpaid leave.
Like maternity leave – which lasts 28 weeks – the paid leave for fathers will be assessed at 70% of their salary and based on a monthly income of 15,000-25,000 CZK – meaning that those with considerably higher salaries may be better off using vacation time instead.
The total annual cost of paternity leave in the new proposal is estimated to be in the range of 700–900 million CZK.
While the new paternity leave is a first specifically for dads, fathers in the country can currently take over maternity leave from mothers after 7 weeks with special written agreement, and can also take advantage of a 156-week parental leave, albeit at a lower flat rate.
In the European Union, 23 countries currently grant fathers an official paternity leave, usually – as in the UK, Spain, France, Sweden, and Denmark – around two weeks.
Norway (14 weeks) and Finland (11 weeks) grant the longest leave for fathers.