The birth of Francisco, the son of Alberto Fernández and Fabiola Yáñez, has once again highlighted the need for longer maternal-parental leave, which considers the need for care of the newborn and the first months . In Argentina, paternity leave is only two days and maternity leave is 90 days. It was the president himself who, at the opening of the legislative sessions on March 1, declared that Argentina had one of the most overdue paternity leaves in the region, while announcing the dispatch of a bill (made by the Ministry of Women and Diversity and Labour) to associate it with maternity. The extension of parental maternity leave is one of the historic demands of the feminist movement which has fought for decades for shared care. “The importance of socializing child care is one of the ways to change the society we have. A society that can do something important about care and do it collectively will also work much better and be more equal for women and diversity,” he said in dialogue with page 12 Lourdes Gelay, psychologist specializing in perinatal health.
“Argentina is one of the laggards in Latin America when it comes to parental leave schemes. That is why I will send a bill to achieve equal parental leave in our country. We will extend maternity, paternity and adoption days and we will include monotributistas and the self-employed without generating greater disbursements for employers,” the president said the day before the Legislative Assembly.
“The constitution of the psyche occurs from the first minute we begin to inhabit this world and connect with that other or another that for the human species is vital, that is why the importance of care, time , space, emotional, psychological and social availability is essential.In a paternity leave of only two days, the responsibility of the paternal function is not really taken into account, it is a completely invisible function for this what the labor laws are is to profoundly misunderstand the role that this citizen has in the family and parenthood terms.According to the laws, co-responsibility must also be possible because these two current days are those that are generally at l hospital. And it would also help to stop thinking that there is a maternal instinct, that the mother is the only one necessary,” explains Gelay.
In November 2021, the government of Buenos Aires led by Axel Kicillof signed a joint agreement for the state governments of the province focused on a new parental leave regime to reduce gender inequalities. The Minister for Women, Gender Policies and Sexual Diversity, Estela Díaz, accompanied the Governor, as well as the Minister of Labor, Mara Ruiz Malec. “What is specified in this joint act is a historical claim,” Estela Díaz said at the time. “These are fundamental steps because these are very concrete rights that have been worked on in a year of dialogue, with an enormous contribution from the State and the trade union organizations which have set their sights on each of these issues, which are changing our everyday,” he added. added the Minister.
La idea de esta medida (ya en vigencia), que suma 45 días más para las gestantes personas, además de los 90 que ya estaban establecidos, y pasa de 3 a 15 para quien acompañe, es que pueda to serve de ejemplo para los empleadores del private sector. “This is a central step that we hope will enlighten, push, support and inspire the private employment sector. The axis must be implemented and in production. And this work must be of quality and must leave behind the historical gaps and inequalities in which we women are inserted, the major issues that are thematized in this joint agreement,” the minister said.
In addition to the sum of the days, which can be shared or split with the co-responsible parent, other special leaves are envisaged: the leave for adoption goes from 90 days to a duration of between 120 and 180 days, depending on the age of the child or daughter, motivated or private leave increases from 5 to 6 days, leave due to the death of the co-responsible increases from 2 or 3 days to a duration of 1 to 3 months, depending on the age of the son or minor girl, to The leave to take care of a sick relative is added another 15 days to the 20 already planned and the leave for school adaptation is now envisaged.
“Since the return to democracy, dozens of care bills have been tabled year after year – in particular to reform the leave system. These initiatives do not prosper and systematically lose their parliamentary status,” reports the ELA Latin American Justice and Gender team. “Care is central to the day-to-day management and maintenance of people’s health and well-being and also functions as a support to the economy. It is a cross-cutting activity in society, in the different spheres of management –public, private, associative–, in the sectors of activity –such as education or health– and in the stages of life which, today is organized in an unfair way and reproduces social inequalities. Care work is not distributed equally between the sexes or between families and the rest of society,” they explain from the organization.
According to ELA and Unicef, only 55% of elementary schools have a room for 3-year-olds and only 16% have kindergarten rooms for boys and girls between 45 days and 2 years old. And if this last percentage is broken down by type of management, it is clear that the offer is not fair: within public management, only 10% have a room for children under 3 years old, but this percentage increases to 36% in the case of private management. Moreover, only 7% of establishments in rural areas have rooms for this age group. Under current conditions, given the scarcity of public provision, they explain, the socio-economic level of the household is decisive for access to early stimulation: the attendance of children under 5 in services care and early childhood education is 28% in the lowest quintile against 50% in the highest quintile.
The ELA report shows that in our country half of the working population do not have access to childcare licenses, while monotributists, the self-employed and those working in the informal economy do not have access to any license to take care of their children. Another problem highlighted in the document is that the Labor Contract Law, which regulates all private employment in the country, does not take into account the diversity of families that exist in Argentina. “It’s a standard that hasn’t been updated since 1976 and was designed for a heterosexual, gestation-focused, heterosexual family model that no longer accommodates caregiving needs or the diversity of families. that exist in Argentina. It is a law that does not take adoptions into account and is not adapted to the Gender Identity Law (Law 26.743) or to the current Civil and Commercial Code of the nation. , which considers same-sex families,” the report read.
The current labor contract law only grants two days of paternity leave. “The law sends a very clear message in terms of who is entitled to care and who is exempt. Labor regulations must promote and ensure co-responsibility for care. A fundamental step on this path is to extend leave days for non-pregnant parents and make them non-transferable and mandatory,” says Delfina Schenone Sienra, sociologist and ELA Policy Area Manager.
ELA recognizes that “although progress has been made in recent years in integrating the gender perspective into the national budget, there is still a need to achieve greater institutionalization that ensures that a key issue for gender equality recognition, provision and distribution of care will not suffer setbacks in the future nor will it depend on political will The mandate to integrate the gender perspective in the national budget and that this includes the dimension transversal care must be a law.
Jimena Frankel, a member of the autonomous CTA’s Social Law Observatory, adds that “public and private sector labor legislation establishes the floor of licenses and conditions for registered workers. But the truth is that through collective bargaining, progress has been made in extending time limits such as innovation in care licensing not contemplated in legislation. Trade unionists have a lot to contribute to the project proposed by the government, which is why it is essential that it echoes the demands and experiences of women workers”.
In the words of Lourdes Gelay, “the importance of the first months is fundamental, there is no instinct, it is the flying hours that make us important to someone and that someone is important to we. From here we must think about the extension of licenses, also for non-pregnant mothers or fathers or in cases of affiliations by adoption, these hours are essential to build this bond: we are a species that cannot be without another”.