The Papamonat (paternity leave) has been a PR coup for the present government.
After long opposing a new fathers’ right to take a month off work, the ruling conservative parties have signed it into law to huge popular acclaim. “A father’s involvement is essential,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor H.C. Strache exercised his own Papamonat immediately, to full media coverage. The ministers involved (Finance and Social) are charged with working out the details, and there could still be problems. An important part of Strache’s own FPÖ clientele are small business owners who may suffer from employees’ extended absence. Margarete Schramböck, ÖVP Minister for Austria as a place to do business, is concerned the move may weigh down the economy, “We cannot burden companies further.” But polls show strong public support and with some unexpected conservatives on board, the family model has taken on new life.