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Switzerland to introduce two-week paternity leave after referendum attempt withdrawn

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Switzerland to introduce two-week paternity leave after referendum attempt withdrawn
DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFP
10:40 CEST+02:00
Fathers in Switzerland are set to receive two weeks off work after the government proposed a compromise with family leave campaigners.

Campaigners had sought a period of four week’s paternal leave for fathers across Switzerland. The campaign, entitled ‘For reasonable paternity leave – for the benefit of the whole family’, attracted more than 130,000 signatures, enough to force a referendum on the issue under Switzerland’s election laws. 

The government, which had initially been opposed to the move, developed a compromise deal which would allow fathers to take two weeks off instead. 

Although the campaigners originally indicated they would press ahead and put the issue to a vote, they later relented, saying the goal was to start a discussion about paternal leave in Switzerland. 

The campaigners said their new focus would be on introducing a parental leave scheme, similar to that in place in Germany, which allows mothers and fathers to split parental leave time on the basis of their individual working situations. 

While fathers are currently not entitled to any period of parental leave under Swiss law, Switzerland has a relatively strong system of maternal leave. Mothers - whether full or part time workers - are entitled to 14 weeks of parental leave and are prohibited from working for the first eight weeks after a baby is born. 

Mothers are entitled to stay at home with their newborns for a maximum of 16 weeks without being obligated to return to work. 

Private and public organisations are fit to establish their own parental leave schemes, provided that they are no shorter than these minimum standards. 

 

 
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