Ministers approve bill giving dads more time off to parent

"Nursing hour" to become "parenting hour" that either mom or dad can use to care for newborns.

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November 29, 2015 17:12
2 minute read.
baby father

A father holds his child [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

 
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The Ministerial Committee for Legislation authorized the ‘Egalitarian Parenting bill’ Sunday, meant to encourage fathers to be more active in raising their children.

“In recent years, there have been significant changes in the Israeli family that are not expressed in labor laws,” MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), who proposed the bill, explained.

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“This bill is a collection of amendments that are meant to allow spouses to share the tasks of raising children however they decide to do so as a family unit.”

The bill turns the current “nursing hour,” which allows mothers to leave work an hour early for the first four months after they return from maternity leave, into a “parenting hour” that can be used by a father or a mother, thus allowing them to split the days on which they leave work early to pick up their children.

Azaria also proposed changing the name of parental leave in Hebrew – which currently translates to “birth vacation” – to “birth and parenting period,” to encourage fathers to exercise their right to split the time off with the mother.

In addition, the bill requires the National Insurance Institute to write in their letters to new mothers that they may split their parental leave with their child’s father, though in recent weeks NII already began doing so.

According to Azaria, the bill is beneficial for everyone in the family: “The children get to grow up with both parents; the fathers get valuable time with their children; and mothers get a partnership in raising children, which allows them to compete more equally in the labor market.”

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On Monday, MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Knesset Committee for the Rights of Children chairwoman Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu) plan to submit their bill to change the way alimony is calculated.

The bill seeks to create gender equality in having the support be determined according to how much each parent earns and how much time each spends with the children, without regard to gender.

Kisch and Shasha-Biton sought to implement the findings of the Justice Ministry-appointed Shifman Committee, which were published in 2012.

“The time has come to go from talk to action,” Kisch stated. “The Shifman Committee examined for years every aspect that has to do with child support, but its findings were not implemented yet. We decided to act and implement them for the good of children and gender equality.”

Shasha-Biton said that the bill puts the child’s welfare at the center, while reducing harm to the parents’ economic welfare.

The bill “takes the child out of the equation of the battle between a mother and father during their divorce,” she explained.

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