Israel announces paternity leave as part of state budget

i24NEWS

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A father holds the legs of his baby girl in Jerusalem, December 30, 2020.
Shir Torem /Flash90A father holds the legs of his baby girl in Jerusalem, December 30, 2020.

'The move will allow fathers the right to active parenting and a closer connection with the baby'

Israel's Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli announced Wednesday the promotion of paternity leave with full pay as part of the upcoming state budget. 

As part of the outline, paternity leave will be given to fathers starting from the 15th week after birth. The complete procedure will be summarized with the submission of the 2023 state budget for government approval on June 16th.

The leave would last for at least two weeks, after the mothers return to work, and it is intended to reduce the wage gap between men and women in the labor market. It is also meant to allow fathers to bond with their children.

Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli at press conference about paternity leave, at the Ministry of Finance offices in Jerusalem, May 11, 2022.

The outline is expected to start from January 2023 if the state budget is approved.

Israel's current law has the father split the 15 weeks of maternity leave with the mother, forcing families to decide if the mother should return to work early for the father to use his leave. This is an option only about one percent choose, Channel 12 reported. 

Lieberman said at the presentation of the outline, "The move will allow fathers the right to active parenting and a closer connection with the baby and will reduce the negative incentive to employ mothers. Israeli citizens know that there is a government here that cares for them, their well-being and significantly upgrades their quality of life," according to Israel's Ynet. 

Michaeli noted she had been fighting for this for almost 20 years, saying, "The struggle for equality takes place on many fronts all the time. It is very rare to have one thing, one change that can affect many fronts at once."

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