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By Jan Stojaspal
As many as 80,000 new fathers in the Czech Republic—more than 70 percent of the yearly total—are expected to take advantage of a newly established paternity leave providing seven days off work at as much as 70 percent of salary, according to a senior ministry of labor and social affairs official.
Approved by the Czech Republic's parliament in April and scheduled to take effect Feb. 1, 2018, paternity leave will be available to both employees and self-employed individuals within the first six weeks of the birth or adoption of a child, Iva Merhautova, the labor ministry's deputy minister responsible for the management of social insurance systems, told Bloomberg BNA in a June 6 interview.
The paternity leave's adoption makes the Czech Republic the 24th country in the European Union with paid time off for new fathers, Merhautova added.
Introduction of the leave will likely create fresh administrative burdens for employers but will otherwise come at no additional cost, Tomas Hunal, an expert on taxation of individuals at PwC Czech Republic, told Bloomberg BNA in a June 5 email.
“The introduction of paternity leave should not bring additional financial burdens on businesses, as it is a state-funded benefit,” Hunal wrote.
The leave will be financed from sickness insurance contributions, which are mandatory for employees and voluntary for self-employed individuals.
“But at least at the onset,” Hunal added, “we expect an increase in related administration.”
For example, “we expect that application for the benefit will need to be supplemented with a written confirmation from employers—or from their payroll processing companies—regarding the amount of assessment base and the length of insurance,” he said. “Over time and after payroll software is updated, it will, however, become a routine matter.”
Merhautova said that administrative costs should grow only minimally since 57 percent of new fathers in the Czech Republic already take vacation days for the birth of their children.
According to Merhautova, new fathers will receive benefits equal to 70 percent of wages up to 28,000 koruna ($1,200), 60 percent of wages between 28,000 to 42,000 koruna, and 30 percent of wages from 42,000 to 85,000 koruna.
Merhautova estimated the annual cost to the state budget at 630 million koruna ($27 million).
“No one will force new fathers to take it,” she said. “But it's pretty nice for fathers who want it. It gives them an opportunity to spend time with their family and with their newly born child right from the beginning.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Jan Stojaspal in Prague at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at email@example.com
Full text of the paternity leave legislation is available in Czech here.
For more information on Czech HR law and regulation, see the Czech Republic primer.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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