Dad wins right to his self-employed wife’s maternity leave

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SPAIN’S Supreme Court has recognised a father’s right to ‘maternity leave’ because the mother was unable to take any time off work to care for the couple’s newborn baby girl.

The regional High Court of Justice in Galicia turned down the couple’s request due to ‘an absence of legal and regulatory provisions’ allowing the dad, who is a judge by profession, to take his wife’s maternity leave.

But they have won their appeal, meaning the father is now able to take 16 weeks’ leave on 100% pay to care for their daughter, who is now nearly two.

The mother, a solicitor, could not take any time off work because she is self-employed.

Even though the mutual company which covers the legal profession would have made a one-off payment to her, this was not nearly enough for her to be able to shut down her practice for four months after giving birth – she had to return to the office as soon as she had been discharged from hospital.

However, her husband, as he is an employee, is entitled to full pay whilst on leave.

The Supreme Court has ruled that this is independent of his own paternity leave, which was two weeks at the time of his daughter’s birth, although it increased to four weeks this January and will go up to five weeks later this month, although only for babies born after it is announced in the State Official Bulletin (BOE).