Debate over paternity leave has been heated across Europe for several months. New voices are calling for the need to strengthen the rights of the fathers. Defending the rights of fathers mean consolidating the rights of the children and driving society towards better gender equality.
In Belgium, men employees may take up to 10 days off to be taken between a child’s birth and his/her fourth month. Only 6 out of 10 men take these days off. Many of them do not know their rights and are particularly worried about consequences on their professional careers. Parental leave is indeed discouraged in some sectors. Yet, many men, especially from the younger generation, wish they could spend more time with their children. 67% of men are in favour of compulsory parental leave, the barometer from Ligue des Familles says.
In Belgium, things are moving in the right direction:
- Companies are showing the example. Like Microsoft Belgium, that allows a six weeks paternity leave.
- Up to four law proposals for a compulsory or extended paternity leave have been submitted. But this measure currently lacks support of the majority of federal government.
- The situation is even worse for the self-employed, with no days off at all. However, a proposal for a non-compulsory and flexible leave is on the agenda.
- In 2016, the Ligue des Familles relayed the voices from many fathers asking for a compulsory paternity leave, allowing less professional pressure, more time with their children, and a better share of family life with their partners.
More information here (in French)
© Picture by Freepik