Family committee wants luxury parental leave – SonntagsZeitung

On Thursday, the political hype about paternity leave in the next loop. The State Council for Social Security and Health of the Council of States is engaged in the citizens' initiative for reasonable paternity leave in the detailed consultation. The initiators of left-wing circles want to give new fathers a four-week holiday in the future. Possible voting date is in three years.

Since the 1980s, politics has been involved in such a federal holiday. The result has always remained the same despite endless discussions – nothing at all. In Switzerland there is still no legal paternity leave.

The luxury version costs 1.7 billion

Now the Swiss Commission for Family Relations (EKFF) has come up with a new model: in the future parents in Switzerland could spend a total of 38 weeks parental leave received – and with an income replacement of 80 percent. 14 weeks must be reserved for the mother and 8 weeks for the father. The remaining 16 weeks can be obtained at the discretion of the mother or father. The mothers should also be able to receive two weeks before the birth. For example, the EKFF wants to prevent pregnant women from becoming ill before appointment.

Parental leave should also be available at a later date, but only two weeks of maternity and paternity leave can overlap. For example, the EKFF wants to prevent parental leave being abused for long holidays.

The proposal is a luxury option that would cost up to 1.7 billion Swiss francs a year, given current requirements. The holiday must be financed through the income replacement scheme, which already covers maternity insurance, and the VAT.

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The EKFF is an extra-parliamentary committee consisting of scientists and experts, including sociologists, doctors and psychologists. According to President Anja Wyden Guelpa, the committee is "not political but pragmatic". Their goal: to strengthen the family.

The 38-week model is the distillate of a comprehensive analysis. For the EKFF, the Interface research agency evaluated 140 international studies from 2010 to 2017 on the effects of maternity, paternity leave and parental leave. "The 38 weeks are the scientifically proven ideal solution," says Wyden Guelpa.

In general, the EKFF only sees benefits for the parents, the child and the economy. According to the EKFF, parental leave has several positive effects on the health of the mother: this reduces stress for the mothers, leading to lower child mortality and a decrease in postnatal depression. The health of babies is also positively influenced: during the course of longer parental leave, the duration of breastfeeding increases, which in turn lowers the risk of diabetes and overweight newborns. According to EKFF, the relationship between father and child is also strengthened – leading to happier fathers and better children.

Switzerland is on the bottom of the OECD scale

According to EKFF member and medical professor Elisabeth Zemp, paternity leave or parental leave in Switzerland has so far been rejected for "cultural reasons". "Parenthood is still regarded as something private." In addition, economic-economic reservations would immediately be put into the field.

But these doubts now disprove science. According to studies, with longer parental leave, the employment rate of women increases. This will reduce the shortage of skilled workers, says Zemp. What is more, with longer parental leave, work ethic and productivity increase. In addition, staff turnover is decreasing.

Zemp also refers to a study with a model calculation that could also be applied to Switzerland: if in this country all women have on average only two percent more jobs, the tax revenues increased by more than 1.7 billion francs – thus it would parental leave of 38 weeks can be financed in one go.

Even Turkey has better solutions

But even with a generous parental leave of 38 weeks Switzerland would still be at the bottom, according to the EKFF At the end of the scale of all 36 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – on average these countries provide 54 weeks of parental leave. With the current zero model, Switzerland is one of the last places – even socially conservative countries such as Turkey have better solutions.

Experts from EKFF believe, however, that super luxury models, such as those in Finland or Hungary, will follow soon to be adapted below. Because the analysis also showed: if parental leave exceeds a certain length, laziness becomes widespread. And the labor participation rate of women is falling again. (SonntagsZeitung)

created: 18.08.2018, 22:06

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