Malta’s progressive party, Volt, is proposing 20 weeks of individual parental leave and another 20 weeks to share because they want to flip the narrative that the pregnant individual should not bear all the responsibility for the caregiving aspect of parenthood.
“We need to normalise that any individual regardless of their sex or gender can be an active participant in the upbringing of their children, and move away from expecting mothers to be the primary parent who stays at home with the kids. It’s about time our laws reflect that,’’ the pan-European federalist group said.
Basically, what Volt wants to do is grant each parent 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave covered both by the state and the employer. Meanwhile, self-employed people will be paid solely by the government.
As another option, parents can opt for 25 weeks of leave at 80% of their income.
Then, shared parental leave would be an additional 20 weeks of paid leave at 70% of a couple’s average income, the way the money is distributed is totally up to the parents.
This same service would be available to foster parents too.
Unemployed parents are also covered by both types of this hypothetical policy, they would receive their pay from a Parental Leave Fund that works at the same rate as the current Maternity Leave Benefit.
All of these services would be accessible for parents of any sex, gender and orientation, and regardless of whether their children are adopted or were born through surrogacy.
Equal parental leave is key to reaching gender equality, it will slowly remove the misconceptions that surround motherhood and female caregiving that really constrict all genders from reaching their goals – whether it’s fathers wanting to spend more time with their kids, mothers wanting to focus more on their careers or queer parents wanting to do both.
“This is essential to further gender equality, combat employer discrimination and improve the wellbeing of the child.”
What do you think about Volt’s proposal?