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New paternity scheme exceeds 500 applicants

With over 500 applications for paid paternity leave submitted since the provision was introduced at the start of August, opposition Akel is petitioning for a change making unmarried fathers also eligible.

Until now, documents proving the father was either married to the baby’s mother or had entered into a civil union have to be submitted along with the applications.

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Amid a number of complaints from unmarried fathers, Akel MP Skevi Koukouma is preparing a letter to be submitted to Parliament next Monday in which she requests proposals be submitted for the law’s amendment.

Koukouma notes that the law as it stands makes multiple references to the ‘husband of the mother’ or similar which discount fathers who are not married or in a civil union with the mother of their child.

While the Social Insurance Services had estimated the new subsidy would set them back between €4.5 million to €5 million a year, any change to the law will balloon the figure.

Fathers must submit the application for the relevant subsidy to the Services within 21 days of the start of their paternity leave.

Paternity leave is for two consecutive weeks and can only be taken within 16 weeks of the child’s birth or date of adoption of a child aged 12 or under although provisions can be made in the case of premature or multiple births or if the child must remain in hospital,

Fathers are like mothers on maternity leave, paid 72% of their weekly wages for the two weeks making up their paternity leave.

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