At the beginning of 2024, the Council of Ministers approved the draft of what is known as the new Families Law, which has three clear objectives:

  1. To promote and favour the reconciliation of work and family life for working people,
  2. to improve the social protection of families, and
  3. to recognise the diversity of different families.

In order to know the background to this law, we should go back to June 2023, when Royal Decree-Law 5/2023 was approved as a transposition of the European Union Directive on the reconciliation of family and professional life for parents and carers, and the foundations of the Families Law were laid.

The aforementioned Royal Decree-Law introduced changes such as the modification of the concept of discrimination, the modification and extension of the right to adapt the working day and the extension of cases of nullity of dismissal. Other adjustments in the labour sphere, which are of great interest for this article, are the new reconciliation measures proposed and the new work permits.

Among the proposed permits, parental leave of eight weeks for the care of a son, daughter or foster child for more than one year, until the child reaches the age of eight, is particularly noteworthy. This leave is one of those that have aroused most interest, and it has been extended in the draft of the aforementioned Families Law of 2024.

According to article 48 bis of the Workers’ Statute, men and women are entitled to apply for parental leave, with no possibility of transferring the exercise of this right. This leave may be taken once for each child in each employment relationship of each parent, on a continuous or discontinuous basis and on a full or part-time basis.

One of the most significant changes to the eight weeks parental leave is related to its remuneration. According to the projection of the Families Law 2024, from next August, this leave will be paid. This is a step forward in terms of the aforementioned reconciliation of work and family life, as it will allow parents to take care of their children without a significant financial loss to their income.

It has not been specified yet how much the parental leave will be paid, but it is estimated that only four of the eight weeks will be paid and that the Social Security will be responsible for paying the benefit.

In recent years, a number of changes have been introduced in the labour field with the intention of creating working environments that make it easier for employees to combine their personal and professional spheres. The Families Law tries to adapt our legal system to the demographic and social transformations that have taken place in recent decades in which families have experienced many changes.

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