Sisterhood Blog

Bill Seeks To Make Israel's Paternity Leave More Generous

By Elana Maryles Sztokman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Until recently, only women in Israel received automatic parental leave following childbirth. The husband, while entitled by law to up to 6 weeks of leave, could only take off from work once the mother returned to work, and only after a period of six weeks from the birth date. But this may be about to change. According to a bill introduced by Kadima MK Robert Tiviaev, new fathers will be entitled to a seven day leave with pay, starting on the day that a new baby is born.

Tivaiaev explained that the bill comes from request from testimony of many men who appeared at the Knesset committee meetings on the subject, testimony which he believes is confirmed by research collected on paternity leave practices around the world.

“This bill is designed to allow the woman’s partner to help her during her first week after the birth.” the legislation states. “The new mother lying in the hospital or at home needs a lot of intimate help. There are baby accessories to buy and attention that needs to be given to the elder children. The person who needs to do these chores is not the tired mother, but the father, who sometimes is forced to take a vacation out of his vacation days so he can fulfill his basic requirements.”

Interestingly, in Sweden, new parents are allotted 480 paid days of leave, of which one parent may only take up to 420 days; the other 60 days are for the partner. In Italy, men can take any part of the five months that women get. In England, new fathers get two weeks paid and another 13 weeks unpaid, or 26 weeks paid leave instead of the mother. In France, men get two weeks or three weeks for twins, in Holland men receive two days, and in Spain, men get 15 days. In the United States, men can take up to twelve weeks unpaid leave, which is not as attractive as many European countries, but at least it’s better than Russia, where men get zero days, even if the mother dies in childbirth.

“The bill is intended to relieve a lot of the heavy workload that the new parents have and also to give the partner a chance to be present with his wife and family at such a crucial time,” Tivaiaev added.

Raanan Shaked, whose weekly column in Yediot has been frequently tackling issues relating to fatherhood since his first child was born last year, offered a tongue-in-cheek support of the bill. “We deserve it,” he wrote in a column this week. “We also experience trauma of birth, after our wives stay up all night breastfeeding… And our bodies need time to recover and return to themselves. It will take time for us to shed the extra pounds from the candy bars in the hospital lobby… And after the birth, we are hormonally sensitive, prone to depression, especially when we realize our lives have changed forever.”

Thankfully, the thoughtful legislators won out over the sort-of-sexist pundits, and the bill is now moving forward in the Knesset plenum. It is expected to be brought up for debate at the next Knesset general assembly in a few weeks.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israel, Parental Leave, Paternity Leave

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.