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Article | Global News Briefs

Honduras: Proposals for new paternity leave and increased maternity leave

By Patricia Aguilar | June 14, 2023

Honduras looks at paid paternity leave to boost father engagement in childcare, a benefit split between social security and employers.
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Employer action code: Monitor

Proposed amendments to the Labor Code would introduce paternity leave for the first time and increase the existing maternity leave entitlement. New fathers would be entitled to 16 workdays of paid paternity leave, and maternity leave would increase from 12 to 18 weeks. Currently, employers are not required to provide paternity leave, and maternity leave benefits are provided by social security at 66% of pay, with employers being required to top up the benefit to 100% of pay. The amendments were preliminarily approved in March 2023, 12 months after the legislation was first introduced to the parliament; further debate is expected before the final legislation is approved and takes effect.

Key Details

The proposed changes to the Labor Code include:

  • Female employees would be entitled to up to 18 weeks of maternity leave, beginning up to seven weeks before the expected date of birth and extending up to 11 weeks after childbirth. Employers currently must provide pay replacement benefits covering the difference between social security maternity benefits (66% of covered pay) and full pay; if employees are ineligible for social security benefits (which requires a minimum of 10 months of insured employment prior to leave), the employer is required to pay the full benefit. Currently, the maternity leave entitlement is a maximum of 12 weeks, starting up to six weeks before the expected date of birth and extending up to six weeks after childbirth (social security provides benefits during the 42-day periods before and after childbirth).
  • New fathers would be entitled to paid paternity leave equal to 16 workdays, distributed in six workdays before the expected date of birth and 10 workdays after childbirth. It remains under discussion whether replacement benefits would be provided by employers in full or on the same basis as for maternity leave (i.e., split benefit between social security and employers).

Employer Implications

The changes are intended to incentivize fathers to get involved in caring responsibilities before and after childbirth. In practice, employers typically do not provide enhanced family leave benefits. Only a handful of companies surveyed (14%) provide maternity leave benefits above the statutory requirements, topping up the benefit to 100% of pay for up to 16 weeks (at the median). Employer-paid paternity leave is slightly more common (25%) among companies surveyed, providing a median benefit equal to eight days of leave at 100% of pay. Employers should monitor the progress of the proposed changes and start reviewing their family leave policies.


Patricia Aguilar
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