During the last decade, the advance of feminist movements placed care on the public and political agenda. Today we know that care tasks are unequally distributed between genders, starting from the traditional association of the feminine with the maternal and nurturing, and of the masculine with (paid) work, production and wealth generation.
In public policies, this translates into markedly longer maternity leave than paternity leave, which hinders the right and responsibility to care for fathers, while harming women in the labour market.
Argentina not only has the shortest paternity leave in South America (just 2 consecutive days), but also only half of its workers can access: monotributistas, autonomous, independent and informal are excluded from this right.
In turn, among the half that access, there is a significant disparity according to the sector: the Employment Contract Law regulates private employment and establishes 90 days of leave for mothers (in charge of ANSES) and 2 for fathers (in charge of the employer), excluding adoptive families; As far as public employment is concerned, birth and adoption leave varies significantly between different jurisdictions and sectors (both national and provincial), with paternity and non-pregnant benefits ranging from 45 to 2 days.
Despite the heterogeneity of this universe, a problem is replicated in all schemes: the licenses for mothers and pregnant people are much more extensive than those corresponding to fathers and non-pregnant people.
In these weeks, the part referring to licenses of the bill Care in Equality is being discussed, an initiative presented by the Executive Branch that constitutes an enormous advance in the visibility of care.
In the first instance, access to licenses is extended to adopters, monotributistas and self-employed. In addition, the figures of pregnant and non-pregnant person are established, incorporating gender identities previously excluded from the Employment Contract Law.
Finally, the extension of leave days for pregnant people – automatically going to 126 days – and non-pregnant women – gradually increasing to 90 days in 8 years – stands out.
For more than ten years we have been promoting a reform of the licensing regime and we believe that the project presented can be enhanced with some additional improvements. We propose a reform that extends the days of leave to 126 for all people, regardless of gender or employment status.
In response to the prevailing fiscal restrictions, this reform must be implemented gradually, prioritizing the extension of days for non-pregnant people and materializing within a period of 8 years. Extending leave to 30 days to all dads would cost 0.08% of GDP in 2023.
Moving forward in this line not only expands rights, but is also a strategic issue. In 20 years, Argentine society will be aging. To address this demographic phase successfully, modifying the licensing system can play a key role, improving women's participation in the labor market and promoting child development.
Increasing the productivity of the workers of the future will be essential to sustain economic growth and social protection in the years to come.
Juan Camisassa is CIPPEC's Social Protection Coordinator. Gala Díaz Langou is Executive Director of CIPPEC.
The judges of the Constitution