Elkin goes from newborn daughter’s birth to vote on paternity leave

Bill proposes eight days of paternity leave for fathers of newborns.

January 24, 2016 16:38
1 minute read.
Ze’ev Elkin

Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin went straight from the hospital where his daughter was just born to vote Sunday on a particularly pertinent bill – eight days of paternity leave for fathers of newborns.

Elkin attended the Ministerial Committee for Legislation meeting to vote in favor of the bill proposed by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), but the vote was postponed.

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The bill, which has widespread support in the coalition and opposition, states that fathers would get vacation time for the eight days after their child is born, at the same time the mother has time off.

The eight days would be divided between three days of leave paid by the government and five days sick leave, which the employer would pay.

Currently, while a couple can split the three-month mandatory government-paid maternity leave, the mother must take the first weeks, which creates a situation in which fathers go back to work the day after their child is born.

Zandberg explained that “the proposal is meant to solve an absurd reality in which, from the beginning, birth and the baby are considered the mother’s responsibility, alone. The father isn’t part of the story, and the right and responsibility to start, together with his partner, family life of equal partnership, is taken away from him.”

Knesset House Committee chairman David Bitan (Likud), a co-sponsor of the bill, said: “In modern families, fathers take an active role in raising children, and it is important for both parents to take part in the experience and the shared tasks.”

Knesset Welfare Committee chairman Eli Alalouf called the bill “groundbreaking” and said it will promote egalitarian parenting.

The Ministerial Committee postponed the vote in order to work out technical issues, and is expected to bring the bill back in a week or two.

Elkin and his wife Maria’s daughter was born Saturday at Hadassah University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, weighing 2.9 kg. They named her Rachel when Elkin was called up to the Torah at Shabbat prayers.

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