Yesterday Horacio Rodríguez Larreto, Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, announced an increase in paid paternity leave. Fathers working in the public sector will now be granted 15 days of leave, with the option to take another 30 days during the first year of the child’s life. Currently, employees in the private sector only have two days’ leave; municipal employees are granted between 10 and 12 day. With this new measure, the goal is to achieve shared co-parenting responsibility in the hope of increasing female participation in the city’s work force.
El Gobierno de la Ciudad extenderá a 45 los días de licencia por paternidad
HORACIO RODRÍGUEZ LARRETA pic.twitter.com/nLXhbEvVq2
— Patricia (@PatriciaTouche) July 5, 2018
Larreta stated: “We want there to be more days to take care of the [newborn] children, and that this a responsibility that is shared among the family.”
These new increases will be available for public sector employees, including teachers and the City administration – one of the largest employers in the country. This new model of care seeks to foment greater economic growth, greater productivity, and diversity within the business structure.
Guadalupe Tagliaferri, Minister of Human Development, confirmed that, “gender indicators shows the participation of men in unpaid domestic work has increased in the city, although it still falls more on women, who on average spend two hours a day more than their male counterparts.”
This is a new possibility open for men and perhaps represents a change for them in regard to family life. In the event that the father and mother both work for the Buenos Aires Government, the last 30 days of the mother’s leave may be rendered to the father. That way, men could potentially add an extra 75 days to their leave. This could also mean a woman who works for the State can return to her work tasks earlier, while the man can care for the child during the remaining months. The new policy also contemplates the possibility of taking 120 more days for both men and women, without pay.
Security forces such as the police are excluded from this policy, given the fact that it would affect the police presence on the street and generate possible safety issues.
Also worth noting is a move toward greater inclusivity with the language used in the bill. Terms such as “female worker” or “male worker” have been replaced with broader concepts such as “persona gestante” (“pregnant person”) and “el otro progenitor” (“the other progenitor”).
Unbeknownst to many, the private sector grants male employees just two days paternity leave. However, the Mercer survey has shown that out of the 76 companies analyzed in Argentina, 51 percent granted on average 5 days of paternity leave. The country ranks among the top 10 nations with the most companies that offer paternity leave in excess of what is required by law. Larreta has argued that he cannot force companies to increase their paternity leave, though he is optimistic that the public sector will act as an exemplary model in the labor market and act as a pivotal force of change.
City police officers will have – as do teachers, doctors, and other public employees – the benefit of adoption, which is another element of the proposal. There will be an increase in the number of days, according to the age of the children (up to 90 days leave are added) and the number of children (30 additional days for each one) to promote adoption. Let’s look at an example. A person adopts two boys, one of them 10 years old. The father is given 90 days leave, another 90 days for adopting a boy over the age of 10, and another 30 days because both the boys are adopted. In total, 210 paid consecutive days of leave. This bill will be debated as part of a package of measures, whereby five labor laws must be amended before these changes can take effect. Sources confirm that it could be as early as September when it’s in operation in the city of Buenos Aires.
All these new proposals are inspired by other countries around the world, primarily those in Europe. Finland offers 54 days of paternity leave, 18 of which must be taken simultaneously with the mother. In Portugal, parents enjoy 20 days of leave. In Norway, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, paternity leave is 14 days.
Examining this more closely, Iceland is making huge strides in respect to gender equality and ensuring both men and women are treated fairly in the workplace. As the country it’s stolen the top spot in global gender rankings – achieving a perfectly even split of parental leave. Mothers receive the first three months of leave, while fathers can obtain the next three, and the last few months can be taken by either parent.
Policies that encourage and normalize co-parenting in countries like Iceland have consequently made it a more equal society. Perhaps these new reforms are small step in the right direction toward combating the prominence of gender roles and machismo in Argentina by promoting shared parental responsibility. With that, it could promote women returning to work earlier, but also may lead to increased female participation in the long-run as gender politics continue to evolve.