Extending paternity leave would cost €74 million a year
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    Extending paternity leave would cost €74 million a year

    © Belga
    The paternity leave provision for the self-employed is likely be modelled on that for employees.
    © Belga

    Extending the minimum paternity leave to 20 days from 10 would cost 74.13 to 74.82 million euros a year, according to the Belgian Court of Auditors.  

    They have just submitted a report on the possible impact of a PS law proposal that would extend the minimum legal paternity leave to 20 days. Another proposal by the CD&V would just make paternity leave obligatory and not extend it. 

    The PS proposal says the first three days would still be paid by the employer, the other 17 would be paid by Inami. 

    The Court of Auditors estimated that making paternity leave obligatory would cost 8 to 8.2 million euros. The cost would rise to 74.13 to 74.83 million euros a year if it was extended and 17 days were paid by the State. 

    “This 74 million is very much doable,” say those behind the proposal, Socialist MPs Sophie Thémont and Patrick Prévot. “On the contrary, it’s an investment to help welcome a new child into the world, the price of more equality between men and women and more equal distribution of household tasks. Let’s not forget that making paternity leave obligatory is taking the pressure of work away from fathers and co-parents, as this may have stopped them taking paternity leave. It also contributes to stopping employers from discriminating against women when hiring.” 

    The National Labour Council supported the introduction of a law giving fathers and co-parents paternity leave in a report.

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times