An online petition is placing a call to bring forward increased paternity leave for fathers and equivalent second parents, given the legislation is due for implementation in August 2022. The petition asks local authorities to address the issue of paternity leave, or rather the dire lack of it in Malta.
One day of birth leave
The petition is presented on behalf of Positive Birth Malta, a local movement in force since 2017, with the aim to raise awareness on positive birth and to provide a supportive network for parents during the journey of childbearing.
The current Maltese law states that fathers and equivalent partners receive just one day of birthing leave, despite the fact that the process sometimes lasts a couple of days. On the 20th of June 2019, the EU passed the Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers (work-life balance directive).
What people are asking for, however, is that the date of implementation is brought forward as soon as possible, so that as many people as possible can benefit from this much-needed directive. The parents of today deserve as much help as those of tomorrow and the future.
It helps the work-life balance
The EU has clearly established that extended paternity and parental leave is a necessity. The World Health Organisation stated way back in 2007 that generous parental leave systems give parents better opportunities to combine their work and family lives. Several studies have found that this positively affects both gender equality and health outcomes.
This directive states that all member states need to implement a supportive system of paternity and parental leave. This would give fathers (or equivalent second parents) at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of their children. Each parent will also be able to request four months leave, including two months that cannot be transferred between parents. This can be availed of in a flexible way.
This petition also benefits employers, since fathers and second parents will have increased motivation and commitment post-leave to an organisation that respects them and their families. This translates into added productivity and time prioritisation. So, at the end of it all, the benefits are there to see for employees, employers, family and the society at large.
The date petition closes for signatures is 29th August 2021. The online petition can be viewed and signed by clicking here.