Parental Leave

Image by Nicole De Khors on Burst

Effort: ⚒⚒

Cost: $$

Timeframe: ⏲⏲

Participants: Employees of all levels


Companies can create clear and fair conditions for parental leave by including the right to parental leave in the employment contract and/or in supplementary documents such as the personnel guidelines. This increases the likelihood that parents-to-be will involve their employer in family planning at an early stage, which gives both sides valuable time to jointly work out an individual arrangement: the better the parental leave is planned and adapted to the employees’ needs, the smoother the transition back into the workplace will be. This often takes place on a part-time basis, gradually increasing over time. With a certain degree of flexibility, it is also possible to respond to unforeseen developments.


For employees with wide-ranging job profiles, such as are often in demand in the innovation sector, balancing work and family life is a particular challenge. On the employer’s side, a long absence or even loss of these employees is associated with high costs. The legal right to paid parental leave in Switzerland is far below the average of all OECD countries: for (biological) mothers, this is 14 weeks and for (legally recognized) fathers, two weeks. Progressive working conditions that include, for example, parental leave that exceeds the legal minimum bring advantages in the competition for highly qualified professionals and reduce indirect costs due to unplanned absences and fluctuation.

In addition, organizations that allow parental leave regardless of gender and biological parenthood can accommodate the realities of life in modern society, including alternative family models (especially rainbow families, co-parenting, and adoption).

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