UC Law SF Journal on Gender and Justice


Katharine Booth


The article recommends for the International Labour Organization to implement a new Standard on paternity and parental leave. It sets out the most important provisions that should be incorporated into such a Standard to encourage the uptake of paternity and parental leave by fathers and partners, and thereby to contribute to the realization of gender equality. These provisions include: application of the Standard to as many workers as possible, generous length of and compensation for paternity and parental leave, an individual right to a significant period of non-transferable parental leave, and flexibility in relation to the scheduling of leaves.

To inform the provisions of the proposed Standard, the article examines the European Union’s 2019 Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. This Directive guarantees paternity and parental leave to fathers and partners in EU Member States. The article compares the EU and ILO’s gender equality frameworks and concludes that the ILO’s lags considerably behind the EU’s. Accordingly, the adoption of the proposed Standard would fill the gap in the ILO’s gender equality acquis.