Midwives call for paternity leave to be extended to 10 days in Malta

on 03 August 2021

A group of midwives are petitioning for paternity leave to be extended by at least 10 days in Malta.

The Positive Birth Movement Malta (PBM) are petitioning for the government to fulfil legal obligations to add part of the European work-life balance directive which gives fathers at least 10 days of paid paternity leave.

Currently, fathers in Malta are entitled to one day of paid paternity leave despite Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voting in favour of the directive back in 2019.

PBM are petitioning for the change in the law arguing that increased involvement by fathers and second partners benefits both parents and the child when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

Senior Midwife Pauline Borg, who filed the petition on behalf of PBM, said: “Employers also benefit because fathers or second parents will be more motivated after taking their leave and feel more committed to their organisation. They can be more productive and better at prioritising their time.

“It is brought frequently up when we talk about post-partum, the fourth trimester and parenting. We felt we have a duty to pass on this message to parliament and voice the message of community in Malta.”

Around the world, South Korea currently offers the most paternity leave at 52 weeks, and Sweden offers the best paternity leave in Europe at 12 weeks.

MEP David Casa led negotiations on the European directive and said: “I have always believed that we should make it as easy as possible for parents to be able to support each other and also their newly born child. That is what I wanted to achieve through the Work-Life Balance Directive.

“This will reduce the gender employment, pay and pension gaps. This law is good for women, good for men, good for families, good for the economy and a crucial step towards a more social Europe.”

While the law ensures fathers and partners are given at least 10 days, states are free to increase the minimum.  

The top 10 countries in the world for paternity leave are: South Korea (52 weeks), Sweden (12 weeks), Slovenia (12 weeks), Iceland (12 weeks), Finland (11 weeks), Spain (8 weeks), Lithuania (4 weeks), Portugal (3 weeks), India (2+ weeks) and France (2+ weeks).

Source: Malta Today