Fathers will finally start benefiting from 10 days of paternity leave and both parents will get paid for two months parental leave until their child is eight years old.

These benefits form part of the Work-Life Balance directive led and negotiated by Nationalist MEP David Casa, which was given the green light on Thursday to become law by the European Parliament.

MEPs voted in favour of a directive that will introduce 10 days of paternity leave - up from one day - remunerated at not less than the national sick pay level.

The EU directive also lays down that the four months' parental leave, which in Malta are currently unpaid, would also be paid and made available to parents during their child’s first eight years.

It would also introduce the right for employees to request flexible working arrangements

This measure would be non-transferrable, meaning that two months have to be taken by the father and another two months by the mother, in consultation with the employer.

Meanwhile, it would also introduce the right for employees to request flexible working arrangements and five days of annual leave being granted to workers to care for sick relatives. 

The motion was overwhelmingly approved.The motion was overwhelmingly approved.

When it was proposed, the directive divided opinion, with some saying the 10-day paternity provision was not enough and others questioning the financial burden of increasing paternity leave entitlement.

Small and medium enterprises had shot it down, while the Association for Equality welcomed it, saying it was a positive step towards ensuring more equality for fathers.

"The existing two-day paternity leave is a huge injustice and 10 days is the least that fathers should be granted," according to the A4E.

Meanwhile, CEO for the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises Abigail Mamo had said that introducing paternity leave at European level was not considered appropriate and the GRTU disagreed with it.

Director Joseph Farrugia had said the Malta Employers’ Association’s strongly resisted any further financial burdens on employers, and insisted that, in line with many other countries, the government financed such social services.

Malta’s economic surplus should be invested in the leave
In comments to Times of Malta ahead of the final vote, Mr Casa had said that Malta’s economic surplus should be invested in the leave, which would help bridge the gender employment and pay gap in the long-run.

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