How do mothers stay at home vote

Being a mother in Switzerland: no compatibility?

Being a mother in Switzerland. You might imagine it to be very idyllic here. Nature, all quality and a prosperous country. Swiss mothers are sure to have a great time, right? In fact, Switzerland has not (yet) invented the compatibility of family and work, to quote the popular TV advertising for herbal sweets. Maternity Protection. Parental leave, but also meaningful jobs for mothers, that is not so good. Today the Swiss and soon-to-be mom Stefanie describes her dilemma.

Swiss and Germans have a lot in common: we speak the same language at school, we often watch the same TV programs in the evenings and share similar values.
However, there are some differences when it comes to family issues.

Being a mother in Switzerland: staying at home or spending a salary on childcare

We are expecting our first child in February. Fortunately, it is now clear that after my maternity leave, I will return to the job of a lawyer with a sixty percent workload. This cannot be taken for granted in Switzerland and many well-educated women stay at home after giving birth. Finding a good part-time job is not easy and the cost of childcare is sometimes equal to the woman's part-time salary. If the cost of childcare exceeds the woman's salary, the woman understandably considers not going to work.

With us it looks like this: In Switzerland, maternity leave begins after the birth. This means that the amniotic sac could actually burst right in the office. In reality, however, it is often the case that the treating doctor puts the expectant mother on sick leave and she therefore no longer goes to work shortly before the calculated due date. The disadvantage of this model is that you cannot plan. You can't put off setting up the children's room or running the last errands because you don't know when you're no longer working.

“Parental leave” as extended maternity leave + unpaid leave

Statutory maternity leave lasts fourteen weeks, the mother receives eighty percent of her wages and the protection against dismissal that already existed during pregnancy applies for sixteen weeks. Some companies are more generous and offer extended maternity leave or full pay during the fourteen weeks. Taking unpaid leave is very common. Since paid maternity leave is short, many women take unpaid leave after the statutory maternity leave. I will also take unpaid leave and stay at home for a total of six months after the birth. The disadvantage of this solution is clear: wage losses and insurance gaps.

Motherhood in Switzerland: childcare only with the family

If the mother returns to work after maternity leave, the question of childcare arises. I mentioned at the beginning that childcare is expensive in Switzerland. The tariffs vary from place to place and are income-dependent. There are subsidized places, but they are difficult to get and not free. My employer is a member of an association that helps find a day care center.

In the KiTa of this association, we would pay CHF 2,400 per month for childcare (five days a week). Since our parents live nearby, we will do it like many other Swiss families do: The little one will be looked after alternately by our parents and a friend with their own baby. In return, we look after your baby two afternoons a week. We not only opted for this model for reasons of cost, but the cost made the decision a lot easier for us.


Two days (!) Paternity leave

Some of you might be thinking: "And what is Dad doing?" A legitimate question, but Swiss law does not recognize paternity leave. In the context of family events, the employer must grant the father the “usual hours and days off”. In practice this means one to two days of paid “paternity leave”. Of course, there are also companies here that pay their employees paternity leave, in larger companies ten days are now common.

Hope Direct Democracy?

My husband works in a small company and is allowed to stay at home for two days. After that, he will take ten vacation days, which he now saved during the pregnancy. The Swiss population will soon be voting on a four-week paternity leave. The Federal Council recommends rejecting the initiative for financial reasons and will therefore not make a counter-proposal. Interestingly, at the same meeting, the Federal Council approved one billion Swiss francs for two weeks of the Olympic Games ...

I hope that I was able to show you which conditions apply in Switzerland. Please don't get me wrong, I like living in Switzerland and I never want to move here. I am very much looking forward to the birth of our son and I appreciate that I can stay at home for a while afterwards.

In the USA I would have to go back to the office much earlier. Nonetheless, I envy mums and dads in other European countries who can spend a little longer with their offspring intensely….


Photos: Pixabay