Diverse families are part of several projects in which the licenses are for all types of mothers/fathers. This is how birth licenses are updated for cases derived from the law of assisted human reproduction or equal marriage. The PEN project contemplates a leave of 2 to 6 days to care for or accompany the spouse or partner who performs assisted reproduction techniques and 3 to 10 days in the case of dependent minor children. It is also added that the people who adopt (who today do not have licenses, except provincial or exceptional) would have 90 days. In addition, a license is created, from 2 to 12 days per year, for those who are about to adopt to visit the child or adolescent whom they want to maternity or paternity.
In several projects it is contemplated that, in the case of multiple births or adoptions, the license has an extension of 30 days for each son or daughter (starting with the second).
It is also very important that the law that is approved contemplates that the months of leave are included in the pension calculation as months contributed, a benefit that the official project contemplates for both mothers and fathers and non-pregnant people.
The diverse needs of early childhood care have had little legal and practical translation and large inequalities persist. In order to face them, policies are required that universalize, beyond formal employment, the right of boys and girls to receive care, in addition to an in-depth examination of the prevailing models of child care provision from birth.
Families have undergone profound transformations in recent decades. Family forms have diversified, the male provider-female caregiver model has been transformed, there is a growing trend towards female-headed families, and the average size of families has decreased. The aging of the population, the permanence of children in the family of origin and adolescent fertility have had an impact on family structures, generating new responsibilities in the protection of its members. All of which “overloads” the family with functions as a result of the insufficiencies of the social protection system. It also indicates that new policy options are required that go beyond traditional family models, adapt to new structures and dynamics, and are also framed within a perspective of parity between women and men.
Care Law: how is Argentina compared to other countries
The innovative law in Finland equalizes parental leave for mothers and fathers. Each one receives a paid work leave of almost seven months and pregnant women receive an additional month (in addition to the previous benefit). The Argentina It is one of the Latin American countries furthest behind in parental leave regimes.
Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay and Venezuela establish maternity leave of 18 weeks and/or more.
Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay they have licenses of 14 weeks and/or more.
Argentina is within the group of countries with maternity leave of less than 14 weeks, along with Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua.
Paternity leaves are significantly shorter than those granted to pregnant people.
In Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela They can access periods of 8 days and more.
Argentina it is also in the least protected category in the case of parental leave, with less than 5 days, along with Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.
Chile, Cuba, Ecuador and Uruguay They also set up non-work periods that can be taken by both parents, at the same time or at different times.
The expansion of the parental leave system is, first of all, a right and a need for children, as explained by Unicef. Secondly, it is a right of the fathers/mothers and it can boost the employment of women -who are usually discriminated against in their reproductive stage and who often have to leave the formal world of work to dedicate themselves to the care of children and adolescents- and It would help reduce poverty levels. These measures have multiplying effects on employment and the well-being of boys and girls.
Legal reform alone will not solve the daily challenges of families with young children. A change is required in the State to guarantee school infrastructure from 45 days and in companies to develop friendlier attitudes towards families. It must be possible to make maternity compatible with economic autonomy. Today half of the women with children under the age of 3 are out of the labor market and without their own income. The great challenge is how to cover especially all the women who are in the labor informality and how not to harm small SMEs.
The idea that it is a disservice to the employer to hire women is a myth. The additional cost of hiring a woman is 1% higher than that of hiring a man, since in most countries leave is paid for by social security or private health insurance. The cost is not assumed by the employer. It makes no sense to discriminate against women at work because they are mothers, but that is what happens.
The protection to care cannot be tied to the logic of the labor market, so those who pay their taxes but do not work in a dependency relationship would also receive the maternity allowance for 126 days.
Who benefits from the care law?
If the initiative is approved, it will benefit more than 8 million people, since there are 5,000,000 people today governed by the Labor Contract Law, to which are added the 450,000 under the regime of workers in private homes; 350,000 under the agrarian work regime (with special licenses); 380,000 with self-employment; 1,500,000 monotributistas; the majority of women who make up the universe of 400,000 social monotributistas and the 190,000 workers of the National Public Administration who already have a more advanced regime
In addition, the care and leave agenda is an opportunity for men to get involved in progress for gender equality. It is a question of social justice, but also a possibility of personal transformation. Beyond what the laws stipulate in each country, there is another underlying problem: many parents do not use the license. This happened in Italy and it happens in Chile, for example, where paternal leave is five days, but only 20% of workers make use of the right and in the case of the benefit that allows the mother to give part of her leave to the male after birth, only 0.2% use it. The situation will gradually change.
The countries that invest the most in care policies achieve female employment rates of over 70%, generating positive results in economic terms, according to the ILO. Argentina now has an opportunity to take advantage of the “Demographic bonus” in which it is still. The weight of the population with some degree of dependency (children and the elderly or disabled in some cases) is still less than that of potentially active people. For that, it is necessary that the largest number of women can go out to work in a paid way.
In the context of an election year, it is a discussion that must overcome divisions. We need a transversality to be built again in Congress that overcomes partisan differences, especially feminists and women, as was the case with the laws on gender violence, the quota in elective positions, access to contraceptive methods, the comprehensive sexual education, parity in elective positions, equal marriage, gender identity and the right to safe and free legal abortion, which allows us to settle this debt of democracy with parity in the care of children and provide a budget to protect the reconciliation between family and work life.
PhD in Law and Professor of Human Rights UBA. National Deputy mc. President of the Citizen Association for Human Rights.
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