Paternity leave

The bill for paid paternity leave came into force on 1 January 2021. This means that fathers can take two weeks’ paid leave within six months of the birth of their child. As with maternity leave, paternity leave is via the loss-of-earnings compensation scheme (LEC).

The acceptance of the ‘Marriage for all’ proposal in September 2021 required amendments to the legislation. These came into effect on 1 July 2022. As a result, the mother’s wife is now considered the co-parent if she was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and if that child was conceived through a sperm donation in accordance with the Reproductive Medicine Act. As a co-parent, the mother’s wife is therefore entitled to ‘paternity leave’ provided under the loss-of-earnings compensation scheme (LEC).

Two weeks’ paternity leave

If the father/mother’s wife is in gainful employment, they are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave. This leave can either be taken either on a weekly basis (weekends included) or on the basis of individual days. As is the case with maternity leave, weekends are included in the compensation. Consequently, the father/mother’s wife receives 14 daily allowances and is entitled to a total of 10 days off work. The paternity leave must be taken within six months of the birth of the child.

If the father/mother’s wife takes their leave on a weekly basis, they will receive 7 daily allowances per week. If they take their leave on the basis of individual days, they will receive 2 additional daily allowances for every 5 days of compensation provided. Paternity leave is granted in addition to annual leave, meaning that employers may not reduce vacation entitlement. Further, the notice period is extended if the employer terminates the employment contract before the full entitlement to paternity leave has been used up. The extension of the notice period is equivalent to the remaining number of days of leave.

If the father/mother’s wife works on a part-time basis, they are entitled to 10 days’ leave in accordance with their level of employment in percent (of a full-time 100% position), which equates to 14 daily allowances of 80% of the actual part-time income.

Entitlement to compensation for the loss of earned income

The recipient of paternity compensation must be the legal father of the child or the mother’s wife. The child-father relationship is established via legal marriage with the mother, recognition of paternity or by court ruling. With regard to the mother’s wife, the child-parent relationship is established if she was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and if that child was conceived through sperm donation in accordance with the Reproductive Medicine Act (RMA). There is no entitlement to paternity compensation when a child is adopted.

A father or mother’s wife who – at the time of the child’s birth – is in work, either in a capacity as employee or on a self-employed basis, receives paternity compensation. If the father or mother’s wife is unemployed or unable to work owing to illness, an accident or invalidity and receives the corresponding daily benefits, they are likewise entitled to claim paternity compensation.

The father/mother’s wife must have been insured under the OASI scheme in the 9 months immediately preceding the birth of the child and, during this period, been gainfully employed for at least 5 months.

Amount of compensation

As with maternity leave, the compensation awarded amounts to 80% of the average income earned prior to the birth of the child, but no more than 196 Swiss francs per day. Fourteen daily allowances are paid out for two weeks’ leave, giving a maximum amount of 2,744 Swiss francs.

Application and payment process

Paternity allowances are not paid out automatically. The claimant must submit apply to the competent compensation fund.

The paternity allowance is paid by the employer provided that the latter is still paying the claimant a salary. In all other cases, it is paid directly to the claimant.

Costs and funding

The two weeks’ paternity leave is funded via the loss-of-earnings compensation scheme (EO), i.e. primarily via contributions from persons in gainful employment, employers and the self-employed. The EO contribution is 0.50% of wages. In the case of employees, their employers cover 50% of this amount.

Last modification 16.08.2022

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