Consultations with Parents on Paternal Leave Sharing
civic activity
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
01-10-2021 - 15-09-2022
Project cost:
34 899,00 EUR
34 898,61 EUR
Types of activities:
social actions and campaigns, educational activities, advocacy activities
Target groups:
decision makers, society

Polish law allows both mothers and fathers to take a parental leave. Nevertheless, only 1% of men take advantage of this option (according to the Social Insurance Institution data, 2021). It affects, among others, inequality of opportunities on the labour market for both genders. We wish to change it. The new work-life balance EU directive was an important context to our initiative. It aims at ensuring equal opportunities for men and women on the labour market by engaging men in taking paternal leaves. There was a need for through social consultations of the directive and understanding why parents in Poland do not want to share parental leaves. We did not want the directive to be just a ‘dead’ regulation in Poland, but a real tool supporting parental and gender equality in a wider social context.
We addressed these challenges by running qualitative research among parents and parents-to-be on their knowledge on parental leaves, perception of sharing them between moms and dads, obstacles that might occur, and activities that need to be taken up in this area. We run two Oxford debates devoted to this topic (one for mothers, and one for fathers), and eleven online workshops with parents and parents-to-be on legal and psychological aspects of parenting partnership. Based on data gathered, we created a report devoted to parents’ attitudes and complemented it with the analysis of the Islandic model of the parental leave split (one with the longest story). The description of the model was prepared by our partner, namely the University of Iceland. The report, along with information on benefits resulting from the work-life balance directive for women, men, children, and the society was sent to the media and politicians representing all political parties.
In the evaluation survey conducted after the workshops, participants claimed they had raised their skills on parental rights, including the possibility to share the parental leave. Moreover, we managed to discuss the directive with ca. sixty politicians. The directive itself has not been introduced yet, probably due to numerous amendments submitted, including our suggestions.

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