Israel Approves Six Days of Paternity Leave for All New Dads

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A father feeding his baby (illustrative).Credit: Dreamstime

The Knesset has passed a bill granting new fathers six days of paternity leave, including the day of the child’s birth. The new law, passed Monday evening, goes into effect immediately.

The new law requires employers to give new fathers paternity leave, though the six days will be at the expense of already existing time off: Three days will come from the employee’s annual sick leave and the other three from annual vacation days.

Until now, employers had no obligation to allow a new father any time off for the birth, and employees were dependant on their employer’s good will.

The law was sponsored by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) and passed unanimously. The law will affect the parents of the 170,000 babies born in Israel every year, said Zandberg. “The next stage will be to give the self-employed equal rights on the matter,” she said. The new law applies only to salaried workers.

Zeev Elkin, minister of Jerusalem affairs and heritage, and a new father himself, also worked to pass the legislation.

“As a new father myself, I have no doubt there is great importance in the presence of the father in the first days after birth. The law will help both the father and mother, as well as the newborn infant, so I thought it proper to aid MK Zandberg in advancing the law. In such matters, there is no coalition and no opposition, we are all in it together.”

MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) said he had reservations about the law, though in the end he did not vote against it. “The proposed law will create discrimination between the self-employed and salaried workers and increase the already existing inequality between small business owners and salaried employees,” he said.

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