The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday in second reading the preliminary draft of the Family Law, which recognizes the diversity of coexistence models, advances in its social protection and incorporates improvements in conciliation. Thus, it includes new permits for family care, equates single-parent families with two children to numerous ones and extends the aid of 100 euros per month per child that working women receive from the unemployed. But along the way, the express mention that was in the first text to the prohibition of parental veto has remained, eliminated “according to the recommendation and technical criteria of the Council of State”, according to ministry sources. This precept specified that “parents may not limit children’s access to information and participation in activities to raise awareness and disseminate family diversity that take place within the educational framework.”

The parental veto, in reality, is not legal in Spain and is not implemented in any territory. Educational legislation does not allow parents to decide whether or not their child should attend an activity taught at the center during school hours, except in those cases in which the regulations expressly provide for it (for example, in Religion class). Even so, Murcia, with a government of the PP and Ciudadanos with the support of Vox, tried to implement it, issuing instructions to do so at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year that were in force for a few months.

The norm, which could still undergo further modifications during its processing in Congress, does not incorporate any more substantial changes compared to its previous version.

The Minister for Social Rights and Secretary General of Podemos, Ione Belarra, who did not appear at the press conference after the Council of Ministers, has warned in a video broadcast on Twitter: “Spain has a conciliation emergency. Too many times we have asked mothers and fathers to be superheroes and superheroes, to achieve everything with almost no policy to support families. This had to change.” Belarra has indicated that the institutions will be there to “accompany, protect and support people, so that they can form the families that they decide, if they want to do so”, because they are the ones who “must choose with whom they want to share their lives”. The minister added: “We want a country with freer and happier people.”

The pillars of the Family Law

The text of the draft is a great commitment to conciliation. The European conciliation directive of 2019 is transposed, and new paid leaves for the worker are created, which add up to nine days a year. First, one of five days for “serious accident or illness or surgical intervention without hospitalization that requires rest” both of the spouse, common-law partner or relatives up to the second degree or affinity, as well as cohabitants. Secondly, the employee may “be absent from work due to force majeure when necessary for urgent and unforeseeable family reasons, in case of illness or accident that make their immediate presence essential”. He will have the right to four paid days, which can be enjoyed by the hour, in the manner in which it is regulated in the collective agreements, and if he provides a justification. The currently existing two-day permit is maintained, extendable to four if you have to move from the autonomous community, due to the death of a family member up to the second degree.

In addition, there will be a new parental leave that can be enjoyed continuously or intermittently until the children are eight years old, which in 2023 will be six weeks and in 2024 it will rise to eight. The European directive specifies that it must be remunerated, but in the draft it does not appear as such, although the explanatory memorandum explains that the Member States have until August 2024 to transpose this measure.

The rule aims to guarantee full recognition of the different types of family, and includes special protection for 11 cases. This special protection is for family situations that present vulnerability and have dependent minors; large families and equated cases; family situations in which there are people with disabilities; those that have people belonging to LGTBI groups; those in which multiple births, adoptions or fostering take place; where there are adoptions or fostering; those who have children from previous unions; rural residents and other groups with support needs, such as the prison population; those formed by a single parent, and “family situations in which one of its members comes from another State or territory, is abroad or returned emigrants.”

The law also provides for large families to be included in a broader category, that of families with greater needs for parenting support. There will also enter 300,000 single-parent families with two children, which will be equated to the numerous, as well as those in which a child or a parent has a disability and single-parent families with two children for any reason. There will be two categories of families with more or less benefits: special and general. The first includes those who have four or more children (compared to the current five) or three (compared to the current four) when at least two have multiple births, single parents with two children and those with low incomes. The rest will be in the general category. To maintain this condition, the children must be under 21 years of age, in general, although when they study they may reach 26 (until now they were 25).

The draft equates rights between married couples and couples, in fact that they are constituted as such in a registry. Thus, the creation of a state registry of couples already registered in the registers of the autonomous communities and local entities is foreseen. Common-law couples will have, like those who get married, 15 days off when they formalize their situation.

The current benefit of 100 euros per month received by working women with children up to three years of age, is extended to mothers who receive an unemployment benefit or have contributed at least 30 days to Social Security. This benefit is received as a refundable tax deduction. However, it does not reach the universality that Belarra had defended, and that is requested by the organizations that defend children’s rights, brought together in the Children’s Platform. This tax deduction will be incompatible with the childhood supplement received by vulnerable families who are beneficiaries of the minimum vital income (100 euros for children in this age group), that is, one aid or the other will be received. The ministry defends that, combining both aids, it is close to universality in this age group.

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By Nail

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