Knesset to examine extending parental leave

MK Rachel Azaria to head task force that will address the issue.

Moshe Kahlon
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon appointed a new task force Tuesday to examine the possibility of extending parental leave to longer than the current 14 weeks during which a new parent can have his or her full salary paid without going back to work.
MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) will head the task force.
The last time parental leave was extended was in 2007, from 12 to 14 weeks. Mothers must take the first six weeks of the period, but it can otherwise be split between both parents.
Israel has the highest birthrate in the OECD, with 176,700 babies born in 2015, and the rate per mother, 3.2, is one of the highest, with the OECD average at 1.8.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in the last 20 years the percentage of employed mothers of young children rose from 55% to 75%, which is almost identical to the percentage of working fathers of young children.
The increase of mothers in the workforce requires legislative changes, including extending parental leave, Azaria said.
“Parents of young children in Israel were not at the center of attention, and the time has come for that to change,” she said.
“The workforce changed along with population growth and a high birthrate. Young parents work harder today than they did in the past, when there was more support from the extended family, but today parents have to get by on their own, especially during parental leave, a sensitive time for babies and parents.”
Azaria added that examining an extension for parental leave is part of a series of bills Kulanu passed to help working parents, including adding vacation days, allowing parents to split days off to spend with sick children and price regulation for baby formula.