Parents' rights at work. Leave for current parents

Parents' rights at work. Leave for current parents
Published on: 27 March 2024

It is becoming increasingly common for both men and women to be working when they decide to have a child. This relatively new reality is gradually being recognised in the Workers' Statute and in other laws aimed at guaranteeing the reconciliation of work and family life.

This is why we have thought it appropriate here to talk about the rights of a working mother and father, which have recently been extended. For example, in 2024, both parents will be able to take 16 weeks' leave, which is expected to be extended to 20 weeks in the near future.

Fathers' rights during pregnancy

As mentioned above, both parents are entitled to paid leave at 100% of the regulatory base for which they are contributing for a period of 16 weeks. However, in the case of men, they can apply for leave up to 10 days before the birth.

This right is popularly known as days for the mother's income. Its main purpose is to allow the father to take care of the woman during the days before the birth, especially if she needs to stay in hospital as an inpatient.

The new 8 weeks of childcare leave

In 2024, the duration of this leave was extended to 8 weeks (in 2023 it was 6 weeks), the aim of which is to allow children to be cared for when they are of school age and take holidays (e.g. in summer). In this sense, the legislator has been aware that it is not always possible to leave them in the care of a family member.

However, this leave is unpaid. That is to say, during the eight weeks that the leave lasts, which can be taken continuously or discontinuously, the parent who takes it does not receive a salary. It can be requested until the child reaches 8 years of age.

It is important to emphasise that these 8 weeks cannot be taken every year, they are a total of 8 weeks that can be distributed for the duration of the employment relationship with the company where you are and before your child reaches 8 years of age.

But what if the couple has more than one child? In that case, the right to take this leave expires when the youngest child reaches the age mentioned above, i.e. 8 years old.

Paid leave

In addition to the childcare leave referred to above, the law provides for two other paid leave entitlements of a shorter duration. These are to be understood as the rights of both a working mother and an employed father, and we explain them below:

  • The first of these is a 5-day paid leave (i.e. salary is paid) for the care of family members, which was previously only 2 days. Its purpose is to allow for the care of first and second degree relatives, i.e. fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters and grandsons and granddaughters. This leave, which also applies to spouses and common-law partners, can be requested when the family member up to the second degree has suffered a serious illness or accident requiring surgery, hospitalisation or home rest with care.
  • The other is also paid leave of up to 4 days for "unforeseeable reasons" or "urgent family reasons". This would be the case, for example, if a child falls ill while at school or nursery school and one of the parents has to pick him/her up. This leave of four days a year can be used on an hourly basis, i.e. it does not have to be taken in its entirety once it is requested. It is intended to allow parents to easily deal with such situations, which are quite frequent.

Other aid

The latest laws provide for a number of other rights beyond the childcare days and paid and unpaid leave discussed above. These are as follows:

  • Honeymoon for unmarried couples: as with couples who marry, both partners are entitled to 15 calendar days of paid leave after formalising such a union at the Civil Registry.
  • Baby cheque: working mothers will be able to receive 100 euros a month from the time the baby is born until it is three years old. It will also be applicable to those who are receiving unemployment benefits at the time of the birth and those who have paid contributions for more than 30 days after the birth.

In short, these are all the employment rights that parents have in Spain. Obviously, they are all intended to make it easier for parents to reconcile work and family life when one or both parents are working. If you have any questions, please contact one of our labor lawyers.

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