Parental leave is the leave granted to fathers and mothers during a period after the termination of maternity leave, to enable parents in employment to look after their child for a certain time, whilst giving them some degree of security in respect of employment, social security and remuneration.
Policies and legislation on parental leave vary considerably amongst Council of Europe member states with, at the one end of the spectrum, Sweden and Norway, where a system of parental leave has been up and running for many years and, at the other end, countries such as Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine, where parental leave (as opposed to maternity and paternity leave for newborn babies) does not exist.
Parental leave is an essential instrument to ensure that parents share rights and responsibilities as regards their children’s care and upbringing. It is also an instrument which, in addition to enabling fathers to be more involved in family life, would reduce gender inequality in the labour market.
Also taking into account European Union law in this field, the Parliamentary Assembly should, therefore, examine legal and policy developments in the field of parental leave in Council of Europe member states, in particular with respect to duration, allowances, and in relation to maternity, paternity or other leave, with a view to identifying best practices and proposing them as a model to other member states.