ZURICH — Swiss voters on Sunday agreed to undertake a law mandating paternity leave, making it the final nation in Western Europe to take action and beating again robust conservative opposition to the proposal.
Fathers within the nation had been allowed someday off for the start of a kid — the identical time given for shifting properties — however the brand new ruling will enhance that to 10 days of paid depart.
And voters additionally individually rejected a referendum that might have blocked freedom of motion of European Union residents into the nation, a problem pushed by a right-wing get together.
The paternity depart legislation was authorized by Parliament final yr, however a bunch of conservative politicians collected greater than 50,000 signatures on a petition opposing the measure. Within the Swiss system of direct democracy, that compelled the problem to be put to a referendum earlier than it might come into impact.
Regardless of being one of the world’s wealthiest nations by way of per capita earnings, Switzerland has usually lagged behind on questions of gender equality. Girls within the nation gained the correct to vote solely in 1971, and wives required permission from their husbands to work outdoors the house till 1988.
For supporters of the measure, the result’s seen as a step towards correcting inequalities between the sexes.
“This can be a clear signal for a complicated household coverage,” stated Min Li Marti, a lawmaker in Switzerland’s nationwide council. Nevertheless, Ms. Marti stated there was nonetheless room for enchancment. “There’s nonetheless quite a bit to be completed on the subject of uniting household and profession,” she stated.
Three-fifths of voters backed the paternity depart measure, with the strongest assist coming from the French- and Italian-speaking areas.
Beneath the legislation, which is predicted to use starting Jan. 1, organic fathers will have the ability to take the ten days of depart inside six months of the start of a kid. They are going to be entitled to obtain 80 p.c of their wage at a day by day cap of 196 Swiss francs, or about $210, although corporations can select to increase the length of the depart or enhance the proportion of wage paid out.
The Federal Social Insurance coverage Workplace of Switzerland has estimated that the brand new coverage will price 230 million francs per yr. The employees’ lack of earnings can be lined by the identical social insurance coverage used to compensate different absences, like maternity depart and obligatory army service. It will likely be paid for in equal elements by employers and workers.
The measure is modest in contrast with different European nations. The European Union, of which Switzerland will not be a component, handed a directive final yr requiring member states to increase their parental depart to 4 months, two of which can’t be transferred from one father or mother to a different. Nations have till 2022 to undertake the directive as legislation.
Patricia Purtschert, a gender research professor on the College of Bern, stated it was additionally essential to notice what the Swiss legislation disregarded. “It doesn’t apply to adoptive or same-sex dad and mom,” she stated. “There are nonetheless fairly just a few people who find themselves parenting that received’t revenue, from the beginning not less than.”
In one other essential vote on Sunday that would have had main repercussions for Switzerland’s financial and buying and selling relationship with the European Union, Swiss voters rejected a referendum that might have blocked freedom of motion of European Union residents into the nation.
This referendum query, pushed by the right-wing Swiss Individuals’s Celebration in an effort to curb immigration, would have scrapped a pact with the European Union that might have additionally torpedoed different bilateral pacts on land and air transport, procurement, technical limitations to commerce, and analysis.