Members of the House passed a new law extending paternity leave to unmarried fathers, essentially amending legislation from last year that gave paid leave to married dads.
The amendment was passed on Friday by 25 votes in favour from Akel, Edek, Solidarity, ELAM, with 15 against from ruling party Disy and nine abstentions from Diko.
The bill was filled with many challenges for MPs who joined the debate, as it had to go through the Supreme Court to resolve questions about cost. Disy has been arguing that the additional cost of €5 million was unconstitutional.
Last year, the House passed a law that allowed fathers, who were wage earners, and whose wife or female lawful partner had a baby, to take two weeks off work.
The new law gives unmarried dads equal rights with married fathers
But unmarried fathers or men who did not perform a civil union with their female partner had been left out in 2017.
The new law gives unmarried dads equal rights with married fathers, including the adjustment of the paid leave period if the there is a multiple birth.
This paid leave had to be taken within 16 weeks from the birth of the baby, whether it was a natural or surrogate pregnancy, or a legal adoption before the child turned 12 years of age.
Unmarried fathers are entitled to 72% of their salary during paternity leave but will have to give a two week advanced notice to their employers.
As of Thursday, the number of applications from fathers seeking paternity leave was 320.
The new legislation applies to heterosexual couples but it does not apply to dads who have partners of the same sex.