Bosses still resisting paternity leave

Dutch fathers want to be more involved in the care of their baby after the birth of their child, but in practice that rarely happens. Thus far they've made little use of their parental leave, knowledge center Rutgers said in it's report 'The State of Dutch Fathers. Paternity leave in the Netherlands', NOS and RTL report.

According to the knowledge center, fathers often do not dare to raise the issue of parental leave with their supervisors and their colleagues. Employers often tell fathers that such leave is too complicated or does not fit with the corporate culture. Or fathers don't even ask for leave because they are worried about a negative reaction.  To date only 11 percent of fathers made use of parental leave, and that figure remained relatively stable over the past years. 

Rutgers also mentioned "a lack of support and encouragement from friends and colleagues", educational- and care institutions' focus on mothers, and "the strong maternity ideology in the Netherlands". A cultural shift is needed in all sectors of society so that fathers feel free to take leave to care for their child. The knowledge center calls on the government, employer, care professionals, and education professionals to actively implement paternity leave in their policy.

These measures are necessary to make new legislation a success, Rutgers said. Since the start of this year, fathers can take five days of paid paternity leave, instead of two. As of July 1st, 2020, they can take up to five weeks of parental leave at 70 percent pay. The intent behind the increased parental leave for fathers is to increase their involvement in the raising of their child, and to increase labor market participation of women and reduce the gender pay gap. 

"The will and desire to change is tangible and measurable, but concrete actions must be taken now to really stimulate paternity in the Netherlands", Rutgers director Ton Coenen said, according to RTL. 

Parental leave is for parents with children under the age of 8 years. It is a legal regulation with which a parent temporarily works less to spend more time with his or her child. 

The Rutgers report will be presented to Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment on Friday. 

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