Friday, November 26

The Government opens to extend maternity leave for single-parent mothers

The Government is analyzing the extension of maternity leave for single-parent mothers. Being able to enjoy the same time of caring for newborns as the homes of two parents is one of the demands of the families, who are going to court to see the right recognized. Now the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, has promised to address the issue and has recognized this Thursday that the difference in permits that single mothers have compared to couples is a “problem of equity.” Social Security sources confirm to this medium that it is a matter that is being “analyzed.”

A court recognizes for the first time the right of a single parent to the same weeks of maternity leave as two-parent households

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“It is an issue that must be addressed from the point of view of the equity problem that it raises. There is a clear point of equity there, yes,” Escrivá replied in an interview on Canal Sur in which he was asked about the question. “We are going to address it,” the minister responsible for these birth permits has agreed to follow.

Currently single-parent mothers enjoy 16 weeks while couples have 16 weeks each parent. Although six are mandatory after delivery for both parties, the difference in practice lengthens the care of the baby at home or by attachment figures for a longer time. Other members of the Government have also spoken out in this regard. This is the case of the Minister of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, Ione Belarra, who announced the expansion within the framework of the future family diversity law, but the measure has not been included in the General State Budgets.

So far, Social Security has maintained the criterion of denying the extension, arguing that the current law does not contemplate this possibility. It has done it systematically every time a single parent has claimed it as a step prior to going to court. More and more people are deciding to initiate judicial proceedings under the protection of different unions and associations with the intention of opening a gap in the face of what they consider to be “discrimination” due to their type of home.

A cascade of favorable pronouncements

Many of the justice responses are in favor of enlargement; the last, at the beginning of October in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which was added to sentences from Galicia, Castilla y León, the Valencian Community or Catalonia. The first in Spain occurred in the Basque Country a year ago and was appealed by the Prosecutor’s Office before the Supreme Court. After the ruling came a cascade of similar pronouncements, including one from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) itself, that endorsed the accumulation of permits for a magistrate of Catalonia.

In all cases, women are granted the right to enjoy additional weeks to maternity leave, in some they are granted 26 weeks (16 weeks of maternity and only ten of paternity, since six are mandatory after childbirth for both parents) while that in others they are directly granted the sum of the two permits (32 weeks since last January).

Most of the favorable pronouncements have considered that elements such as child protection, gender equality and conciliation come into play, and have argued that not extending the permit is discriminatory and goes against the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They also recalled that the rules must be interpreted in the light of the general principle of the “best interests of the child”, which in cases of single-parent families will see their “attention, care and development” “clearly diminished” compared to two-parent families.

Some rulings have also referred to the decree approved by the Government in 2019, which equated maternity and paternity leave to promote equality between men and women, but which recorded “a new gap” with single-parent households and indirectly women that form them, that they are an immense majority. In addition, the rights to conciliation and family life “receive uneven treatment” depending on the type of home, argued the Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country in the first ruling of this type.

The associations of single-parent families, for their part, have been demanding that the expansion be carried out through a change in the law for years and regret that “after years of discrimination and despite the social, judicial, political and even administrative recognition in several autonomous communities” the mothers single parents are “obliged to resort to justice, case by case,” the Association of Single Mothers by Choice declared a month ago.

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