Paternity leave dramatically underused in Zurich, report finds

Paternity leave dramatically underused in Zurich, report finds

More than a year after paternity leave started in Zurich, a new report by the Social Insurance Institution of the Canton of Zurich (SVA) has found that very few men are choosing to take paid leave after the birth of their child. The regulator said that it had been surprised by the lack of applications.

Only 2.800 applications for paternity leave so far

In September 2020, Swiss citizens approved a referendum that would give fathers in Zurich the right to paternity leave after their child’s birth. Since January 2021, new fathers in Zurich have been entitled to two weeks of leave to care for their newborn, while still receiving a full salary.

However, new data published by Zurich's SVA - the body in charge of social security - has found that only 2.800 people have taken paternity leave in the scheme’s first year, well below expectations, according to its report published on Wednesday.

Many men scared of taking paternity leave in Zurich

The SVA noted that, based on telephone calls with fathers, men do enquire about their entitlement to paternity leave, but many are concerned that their employers may be critical of them taking time off for such a reason. They said bosses don’t welcome paternity leave requests, with some employees fearing they could ruin their working relationship or lose their job.

Concluding their report, SVA said that it will take more time for fathers to come forward. They assumed that while not all fathers will want to make a claim, they hoped that those who do would use the service more in future.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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