Europe Paternity Leave: Country-by-Country Policies and Benefits

Last updated: 21 August 2023


Parental leave is a hot topic in Europe at the moment. By the 4th of April 2022, all EU member states must offer a minimum of 10 days of paid paternity leave. This is because of a new directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers to promote gender equality.

For some countries, this will result in major legislative changes to be in compliance with this new European directive. In Italy, for example, the impact is clearly visible. The number of paid parental leave days has changed from 4 to 7 in 2019 and from 7 to 10 days in 2021 to be in compliance again.

This blog introduces you to an overview of the paid Europe paternity leave days in 2023, country by country.


Countries with Paternity Leave


As you may know, in many countries, parental leave is not paid, which means that for some employees, it is not possible to take leave. Many countries, for example, give a parent the opportunity to take numerous days off but only a limited amount of paid paternity leave days. Due to the new EU directive, many European countries have to make major changes to their laws. 

Eu paternity leave


Below we've shortly outlined countries with paternity leave and their current parental leave structure in 17 European countries. It is important to keep in mind that there are different laws and rules in each European country.

*European Legislation is ever-changing. For example, the Netherlands and France are expanding paternity leave in the coming year. Also, certain conditions must be met in order to receive state benefits as an employer or employee. Therefore we highly advise you to use an expert who can support you and discuss the possibilities before making important decisions.


Paternity leave in Austria


In Austria, fathers used to be entitled to 1 month of unpaid paternity leave with a one-time compensation of 700 euros. The new EU Directive will cause legislative changes. Fathers will also be entitled to 10 days of paid paternity leave in Austria.

To be eligible for paternity leave in Austria, a father must live in the same household with the child.


Paternity leave in Belgium 


Belgium offers the minimum amount of paternity leave based on the EU directive. From January 1, 2021, paternity leave for fathers in Belgium increased from 10 days to 15 days, and it was further extended by another five days at the beginning of 2023.

In Belgium, the employer will pay the employee full salary for the first three days and 82% of the regular pay for the remaining period.


Paternity leave in Bulgaria


An interesting fact is that fathers rarely take Bulgaria paternity leave, even though they are entitled to 15 days of paid leave. During paternity leave in Bulgaria, fathers receive 90% of the regular pay. 


Paternity leave in Croatia 


Employed fathers may take paternity leave in Croatia if they have valid health insurance regulated by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund. They are entitled to 10 or 15 business days, depending on the number of children born. In Croatia, fathers must use paternity leave without interruptions during the first six months after the child's birth. Paid out from the state budget, paternity leave in Croatia is compensated at 100% of the regular salary.


Paternity leave in Cyprus 


Regarding paternity leave in Cyprus, employed fathers can take up to two consecutive weeks between the week of the birth and the following 16 weeks. This benefit is granted, too, in cases of adoption or surrogacy. The government will pay a paternity allowance if an employee meets the insurance conditions, as well as the childbirth grant after the birth of each child in addition.


Paternity leave in Denmark


The length of paternity leave in Denmark is at least 2 weeks (must be taken during the first 14 weeks after childbirth) and can run up to 52 weeks. All employees covered by collective agreements receive full earnings during part or all of the Parental leave period.


Paternity leave in France


In France, paternity leave rights provided fathers with 11 days of paid paternity leave for the birth of a newborn. However, from 1 July 2021, the duration of paternity leave in France is 28 days, including the 3 days of birth leave financed by the employer, which are added to the 25 days compensated by the social security system.


Paternity leave in Germany 


In Germany, working fathers have a paid day off on the day of childbirth and the option of parental leave – but not paternity leave. If both parents apply for parental leave benefits, they can take 14 months of leave paid at 65% of their salary.

However, new legislative changes announce two weeks’ guaranteed paid paternity leave in Germany, starting in 2024. 


Paternity leave in Greece 


According to the EU data, Greek fathers rarely take paternity leave. Before the new Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers caused legislative changes, fathers in Greece used to be entitled to 2 days of paid paternity leave for the birth of a child. Now fathers may take up to 14 days of employer-paid paternity leave that must be taken upon childbirth.


Paternity leave in Malta 


In Malta, before 2021, the national law provided at least 1 day of paid paternity leave. With new improvements in parents' and carers' rights, paternity leave in Malta ensures ten paid working days, taken immediately after the birth or adoption, to provide care.


Paternity leave in the Netherlands 


In the first 4 weeks, the father of a newborn is entitled to at least 5 days of paid paternity leave in the Netherlands. From 1 July 2020, the partner is entitled to an additional 5 weeks of at least 70% paid leave. The additional leave will be reimbursed by the government.

The Netherlands also offers unpaid parental leave. The employee can take this till the eighth birthday of the child. For every child, the employee is entitled to up to 26 times the number of hours worked per week.


Paternity leave in Portugal 


In Portugal, fathers are entitled to 20 working days of paternity leave with an additional 5 working days that are optional. In contrast to that, the previous benefit granted 15 working days of mandatory paternity leave and an additional 10 working days that are optional. In addition, paternity leave in Portugal is paid at 100% of the regular pay from the average salary of the previous 6 months before the leave is taken.


Paternity leave in Romania 


In Romania, fathers used to be entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave. The leave has to be used until the child reaches the age of 8 weeks. Aligning its parental leave benefits with the Directive, Romania increased paternity leave to 10 working days. Paternity allowance equals the salary corresponding to that period and is compensated from the employer’s salary fund. This leave may be further extended by 5 days if a father obtained a certificate of completion of the childcare course.


Paternity leave in Slovakia 


In Slovakia, fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave. If the mother is not receiving maternity benefits, paternity leave duration is 28 weeks, starting 6 weeks after the mother gives birth. Single fathers are entitled to 31 weeks of paternity leave. The Social Security agency pays for paternity leave in Slovakia.


Paternity leave in Slovenia 


Slovenia is considered to have one of the more generous paternity leave laws, not just in comparison to other European Union countries but in the world.

Slovenia offers fathers 30 days of paid paternity leave. Pay is based on the average earnings over the previous 12 months. However, it is capped at 2.5x the average monthly salary in Slovenia (currently 3,664.31 EUR).


Paternity leave in Spain 


From January 2021, paternity leave in Spain is increased to 16 weeks. Prior to the 16 weeks, it used to be 12 weeks. In case of multiple births, paternity leave in Spain can be extended by two weeks. Partners can apply for this paternity leave, and they will receive 100% of their regulatory base salary.


Paternity leave in Sweden


Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world. Parents are given 480 days of leave per child, and 390 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of their salary up to a capped limit of 99 euros a day.


More information


If you would like to receive more detailed information on European paternity leave in a specific country, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our HR Experts would be more than happy to provide you with the necessary information.

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Disclaimer: While we strive to provide accurate and timely information, please note that HR policies and regulations can change frequently. It is recommended that you seek guidance from our HR consultants to ensure that the data presented here is current and accurate.



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