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 delivery of a kid — the identical time given for shifting houses — however the brand new ruling will enhance that to 10 days of paid go away.
And voters additionally individually rejected a referendum that may have blocked freedom of motion of European Union residents into the nation, a problem pushed by a right-wing occasion.
The paternity go away legislation was permitted 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 difficulty to be put to a referendum earlier than it may come into impact.
Regardless of being one of the world’s wealthiest nations by way of per capita revenue, Switzerland has usually lagged behind on questions of gender equality. Ladies within the nation gained the appropriate to vote solely in 1971, and wives required permission from their husbands to work exterior 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,” mentioned Min Li Marti, a lawmaker in Switzerland’s nationwide council. Nonetheless, Ms. Marti mentioned there was nonetheless room for enchancment. “There’s nonetheless loads to be finished close to uniting household and profession,” she mentioned.
Three-fifths of voters backed the paternity go away measure, with the strongest help coming from the French- and Italian-speaking areas.
Underneath the legislation, which is anticipated to use starting Jan. 1, organic fathers will be capable of take the 10 days of go away inside six months of the delivery 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 period of the go away 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 will probably be lined by the identical social insurance coverage used to compensate different absences, like maternity go away and necessary navy service. It is going to be paid for in equal elements by employers and staff.
The measure is modest in contrast with different European international locations. The European Union, of which Switzerland is just not a component, handed a directive final yr requiring member states to increase their parental go away to 4 months, two of which can’t be transferred from one mother or father to a different. International locations have till 2022 to undertake the directive as legislation.
Patricia Purtschert, a gender research professor on the College of Bern, mentioned it was additionally essential to notice what the Swiss legislation ignored. “It doesn’t apply to adoptive or same-sex mother and father,” she mentioned. “There are nonetheless fairly just a few people who find themselves parenting that received’t revenue, from the beginning at the very least.”
In one other essential vote on Sunday that might have had main repercussions for Switzerland’s financial and buying and selling relationship with the European Union, Swiss voters rejected a referendum that may have blocked freedom of motion of European Union residents into the nation.
This referendum query, pushed by the right-wing Swiss Individuals’s Occasion in an effort to curb immigration, would have scrapped a pact with the European Union that may have additionally torpedoed different bilateral pacts on land and air transport, procurement, technical limitations to commerce, and analysis.