Paternity Leave in Europe 2021 - New EU Directive

Parental leave is a hot topic in Europe at the moment. This is because of a new directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers. The aim of the directive is to promote gender equality. By the 4th of April 2022, all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave. For some countries, this will result in major legislative changes to be in compliance with this new European directive. In Italy, for example, the impact is clearly visible. The number of paid parental leave days has changed from 4 to 7 in 2019 and from 7 to 10 days in 2021 to be in compliance again. In this blog, an overview is provided of the paid paternity leave days in Europe in 2021. 

As you may know, in many countries parental leave is not paid, which means that for some employees it is not possible to take leave. Due to the new EU directive, many European countries have to make major changes to their laws. 

Below we've shortly outlined the current parental leave structure of 17 European countries. It is important to keep in mind that there are different laws and rules in each European country. Many countries, for example, give a parent the opportunity to take numerous days off but only a limited amount of paid paternity leave days. 

*European Legislation is ever-changing, for example, the Netherlands and France are expanding paternity leave in the coming year. Also, certain conditions must be met in order to receive state benefits as an employer or employee. Therefore we highly advise you to use an expert who can support you and discuss the possibilities before making important decisions

Paternity leave in Austria

In Austria, fathers used to be entitled to 1 month of unpaid paternity leave with a one-time compensation of 700 euros. The new EU Directive will cause legislative changes. Fathers will also be entitled to 10 days of paid paternity leave in Austria. 

Paternity leave in Belgium 

From 1 January 2021, leave for fathers will be increased from 10 days to 15 days. The employer will pay the employee full salary for the first three days. Belgium offers the minimum amount of paternity leave based on the EU directive.

Paternity leave in Bulgaria 

An interesting fact is that fathers rarely take paternity leave, even though they are entitled to 15 days of paid leave. During paternity leave in Bulgaria, fathers receive 90% of the regular pay. 

Paternity leave in Croatia 

There is no statutory requirement for paid paternity leave in Croatia but the employee has the option of using their personal leave. The new directive, where all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave in Croatia, causes a lot of legislative changes.

Paternity leave in Cyprus 

In Cyprus, parents can take up to two consecutive weeks between the week of the birth and the following 16 weeks. This will be paid by the government if you met the conditions.

Paternity leave in Denmark

The length of paternity leave in Denmark is at least 2 weeks and can run up to 52 weeks. All employees covered by collective agreements receive full earnings during part or all of the Parental leave period

Paternity leave in France 

In France, fathers are given 11 days of paid leave for the birth of a newborn. Next summer, however, paternity leave entitlement will be increased to 28 days. 7 of these 28 days are mandatory while the remaining 21 are optional.

Paternity leave in Germany 

In Germany, before 2021, there were no paternity leave rights for a father. The new directive, where all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave, causes a lot of legislative changes.

Paternity leave in Greece 

Fathers in Greece are currently entitled to 2 days’ paid leave for the birth of a child. According to the EU data, Greek fathers rarely take paternity leave. The new directive, where all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave, causes a lot of legislative changes.

Paternity leave in Malta 

In Malta, before 2021, the national law provides for a minimum of 1 day of paid paternity leave. The new directive, where all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave, causes a lot of legislative changes.

Paternity leave in the Netherlands 

In the first 4 weeks, the father of a newborn is entitled to at least 5 days of paid leave. From 1 July 2020 on the partner is entitled to an additional 5 weeks of at least 70% paid leave. The additional leave will be reimbursed by the government.

The Netherlands also offers unpaid parental leave. The employee can take this till the eight birthday of the child, for every child the employee is entitled to up to 26 times the number of hours you work per week.

Paternity leave in Portugal 

In Portugal, fathers are entitled to 20 working days of leave with an additional 5 working days that are optional, whereas the previous benefit granted 15 working days of mandatory paternity leave and an additional 10 working days that are optional. In addition, leave is paid at 100% of the regular pay from the average salary of the previous 6 months before the leave is taken.

Paternity leave in Romania 

In Romania, fathers used to be entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave. The leave has to be used until the child reaches the age of 8 weeks. The new EU directive will cause changes where fathers will be entitled to 10 days of paternity leave.

Paternity leave in Slovakia 

Fathers are entitled to 28 weeks of paternity leave, starting 6 weeks after the mother gives birth, but only if the mother is not receiving maternity benefits. Single fathers are entitled to 31 weeks of paternity leave. The leave is paid by the Social security agency.

Paternity leave in Slovenia 

Slovenia offers fathers 30 days of paid paternity leave. Pay is based on the average earnings over the previous 12 months, however, is capped at 2.5x average monthly salary in Slovenia (currently 3,664.31 EUR).

Slovenia is considered to have one of the more generous paternity leave laws not just in comparison to other European Union countries, but in the world.

Paternity leave in Spain 

From January 2021 paternity leave in Spain is increased to 16 weeks. Prior to the 16 weeks, it used to be 12 weeks. In case of multiple births, the paternity leave can be extended by two weeks. Partners can apply for this paternity leave they will receive 100% of their regulatory base salary.

Paternity leave in Sweden  

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world. Parents are given 480 days of leave per child, and 390 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of their salary up to a capped limited of 99 euros a day.

More Information
If you would like to receive more detailed information on parental leave in a specific country, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our HR Experts would be more than happy to provide you with the necessary information.

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Disclaimer: While we strive to provide accurate and timely information, please note that HR policies and regulations can change frequently. It is recommended that you seek guidance from our HR consultants to ensure that the data presented here is current and accurate.


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