Controversial resolution wins support, but faces a battery of criticism.
The Conservative Party (H) has voted to remove compulsory paternity leave period for fathers. Though the Party claims the reason is to give parents more choice, politicians from most of the other Parties were provoked.
The resolution was passed by a majority with support from the Young Conservatives.
“Should we be satisfied with Labour's social democratic model, or do we create a policy for the future? If the congress believes choice and confidence in the individual's important, the time has come to give parents the right to full freedom of choice when it comes to determining how they wish to divide parental leave between them,” said Linda Cathrine Hofstad Helleland from the Party’s Women’s Group.
Parents can currently decide whether they want 46 weeks with full pay, or 56 with 80 percent, and the father has to stay at home for ten weeks. The new resolution, which wouldn’t come into effect until the Conservatives were in power, would allow couples to divide leave as they wished.
Party Leader Erna Solberg, Deputy Leader Jan Tore Sanner, and a handful of others voted against changing current regulations.
“I agree with the principle of choice, but don’t believe the time is ripe for this now,” Solberg said, reports Stavanger Aftenbladet.
There were fears the resolution would lead to less freedom instead. Several politicians claimed there’d be increased pressure on fathers working in private companies not to take paternity leave.
“The Conservative Party supported both introducing and increasing the amount of paternity leave, precisely because it gives the family freedom of choice. But we need some measures if this freedom is to be genuine,” said Sanner.
Stavanger politician Christine Sagen Helgø said she was taken aback.
“I’ve seldom received so many questions, including from many men, after it became known the Conservative Women’s Group wants to remove mandatory paternity leave. The message is clear: If paternity leave isn’t compulsory by law, many employers will make it difficult for dad to be home with their new children,” she said.
Audun Lysbakken, the Socialist Left’s (SV) Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion, Children’s Minister, told NTB he believed it would set gender equality back at least 20 years.
Whilst Labour (Ap) Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, called the resolution naïve. He told Aftenposten only three percent of fathers took paternity leave before Gro Harlem Brundtland’s government introduced compulsory measures in 1993. It’s now over 80.
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