This Father's Day, dads in Czechia are longing for extended parental leave

Fathers in the Czech Republic are taking a more active role in raising their children, according to data from the past decade, but lack state support. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.06.2023 12:25:00 (updated on 18.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

As the role of fathers in the Czech Republic evolves, a growing number of men are expressing a desire to spend more time with their children. Research from the League of Open Men reveals that three-quarters of fathers in Czechia would take two months of parental leave, which is required by an EU directive but yet to be implemented.

Societal stereotypes and disparities in income between men and women in the country hinder men's fight for more parental leave. To facilitate this societal shift, greater support from employers and legislative changes are crucial. On this Father's Day, the changing landscape of fatherhood in the Czech Republic comes into greater focus.

An expanding role for fathers in the Czech Republic

The League of Open Men, a Czech organization dedicated to men's issues, reports a significant increase in men's engagement in childcare and their evolving priorities within families over the past decade. Modern fathers in the Czech Republic are increasingly involved in various aspects of child-rearing, such as accompanying children to doctor visits, purchasing groceries, and tending to sick children.

The involvement of Czech fathers in evening hygiene routines has risen from 15 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2020, according to data shared by the organization. Moreover, more men now prioritize family over work, with 71 percent valuing family time over their careers, compared to 56 percent in 2010. This shift reflects changing societal expectations in the Czech Republic, and highlights the desire of fathers to play an active role in their children's lives.

The benefits of active fatherhood

International studies from countries like the United States and the United Kingdom emphasize the positive impact of involved fathers on their children's social development. Actively participating in childcare decreases the likelihood of developmental issues and leads to better academic outcomes for children.

Furthermore, men's engagement in family life has a positive effect on both partners, enhancing their physical and mental well-being while reducing the probability of relationship crises and divorce. Women also benefit from increased opportunities in the labor market when fathers are more involved in parenting. Thus, active fatherhood contributes to healthier and more balanced family dynamics.

Supportive measures for fathers

To encourage greater involvement of fathers in childcare, employers in the Czech Republic have started offering extended paternity leave beyond the allocated two-week period. This demonstrates that fathers desire an equal role in their families, and it is imperative for the state to respond to their needs.

One critical aspect affecting parental leave uptake is the amount of parental allowance, as lower-income individuals, often women, tend to remain on leave. Experience from other countries shows that non-transferable portions of parental leave designated for fathers can promote their participation.

European Union member states were required to ensure two months of non-transferable parental leave for fathers by August 2, 2022, according to a 2019 directive. However, implementation in the Czech Republic is still pending. Alongside improved legislation, financial incentives and flexibility in drawing parental leave can play pivotal roles in motivating fathers to take an active part in caring for their children.

Campaigning for change

In commemoration of Father's Day, the League of Open Men, in collaboration with the educational platform M.ARTER, is launching a social media campaign. The campaign aims to promote active fatherhood by sharing real stories from fathers who have taken parental leave and continue to be engaged in their children's lives.

Currently, only around two percent of men in the Czech Republic take optional parental leave, largely due to financial concerns and societal perceptions of fatherhood. Through this initiative, fathers can find inspiration, support, and encouragement to take a more active role in parenting, fostering stronger bonds with their children.

The League of Open Men has long been advocating for active fatherhood, offering educational events, workshops, and support for both fathers and mothers. You can learn more about the organization through its official website.

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