MADRID ( Associated Press) – Spain’s government wants to help parents balance the responsibilities of raising their children and having a good job by giving them more free time for days when children are sick or on summer vacation. during.
Social Rights Minister Ioan Belarra on Tuesday presented a preliminary draft of new “family law” that seeks to make it easier to work and raise children in a country that, like much of Europe, suffers from a low birth rate. rate and population ageing.
“We ask fathers and mothers to be superheroes and superheroines and my intention with this law is that they are only fathers and mothers, which is enough,” Belarra declared.
If approved by Parliament in its original version, the law would increase the entitlement to paid absence from two to five days a year for cases in which a close relative has fallen ill or is hospitalised.
In addition, it will provide four days of paid leave in a year to parents to deal with unforeseen family emergencies. And parents will have eight more unpaid weeks a year to care for their children until they reach age 8.
The minister said the measure seeks to help parents take care of their children during the summer holidays, which usually run from late June to mid-September, in addition to parental leave. Much longer than days. The measure will be implemented gradually: six weeks in 2023 and eight weeks in 2024.
Belarra stressed that the law seeks to make it easier for Spaniards to have children if that’s what they want.
According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, Spain’s 7.1 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2020 is the second lowest in the entire European Union, only above Italy. In 2019, Spain was the EU country with the most women over 40 having children, with 10%.
The law would also provide the same education and transportation subsidies to single-parent families and families with two or more children that are available to families with two parents and three or more children.
Laws can be modified during the legislative process before being voted on by Congress and the Senate to become law.