Until recently paternity leave was only an entitlement for civil service employees, however, from 1 September Austria have extended “Papamonat” (daddy month) to private sector employees allowing new fathers to request a month’s unpaid leave from their employers, within the mother’s maternity leave period of 8 to 12 weeks.

Papamonat applies irrespective of the size of the employer and, not unreasonably, the prospective father must advise the employer of the intention to take Papamonat no later than three months before the expected date of childbirth (Papamonat also applies for same sex couples).

Whilst from an employer perspective Papamonat is unpaid, the father will receive a family time bonus of EUR 700 covering the 28- to 31-day Papamonat period (an application to social security is required in order to receive the bonus).

So, how does Papamonat shape up against the more generous in class?

In Sweden both parents receive 240 days of paid parental leave each (new Swedish fathers are sometimes called the “latte papas”).

Norway offers both parents 15 weeks of paid parental leave (known locally as “Mammaperm” and “Pappaperm” for new mothers and new fathers, respectively).

The real difference is perhaps that both countries, particularly Sweden, are embedding extended periods of paternity leave into their culture, where fathers are expected to take a more active role in the earliest days of family life through paternal leave provisions (the leave is provided on a “use it or lose it” basis).

Only time will tell whether Papamonat is embraced to the full.