The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has returned to a court in Seville the decision on a complaint from a Social Security worker who asked to extend her maternity leave by 16 weeks because she is a single mother, considering that the case should not be interpreted in the light of the directive on the reconciliation of family and professional life for parents and carers. The Association of Single Mothers by Choice (AMSPE) points out that the complaint that motivated the ruling continues its “legal course” in Spain and urges a ruling by the Constitutional Court as well as the approval of the Family Law because what is At stake is “the best interest of minors” from single-parent families who have the same right to care as other families.

The Social Court number 1 of Seville received this litigation that pits a worker against the General Treasury of Social Security (TGSS) and the National Institute of Social Security (INSS) in relation to their refusal to extend sixteen weeks the maternity leave of the worker, who forms a single-parent family with her son.

The worker gave birth to her son on November 5, 2021. She was granted the benefit provided for by the general Social Security regime during her maternity leave, from November 5, 2021 to February 24, 2022. She requested a extension of sixteen weeks, alleging that Spanish regulations on parental leave discriminate against children born in single-parent families, since in two-parent families a parent who is not the biological mother has a period of sixteen weeks to take care of the children.

The INSS and TGSS denied the request. They maintain that, in two-parent families, the recognition of the right to parental leave is not automatic, since each parent must meet certain legal requirements individually.

In her opinion, the automatic granting to the biological mother of a single-parent family (in addition to her own 16-week maternity leave) of that leave from which the parents of a two-parent family could benefit would constitute discrimination against two-parent families, in which that the granting of parental leave is not automatic.

The Sevillian court referred the query to the CJEU considering that Spanish regulations do not take into account the specific situation of parents of single-parent families, who in their opinion are disadvantaged compared to parents of two-parent families with regard to work-life balance. and private life, as well as in terms of time dedicated to caring for children.

The CJEU has refused to rule because the provisions of Union Law whose interpretation is requested are not applicable to the circumstances of this dispute for material and temporal reasons.

“The case in Seville continues its legal course,” Miriam Tormo, spokesperson for AMSPE, clarifies for La Vanguardia. Tormo regrets that thousands of single mothers are currently in a “defenseless” situation. The association is awaiting the ruling of the Constitutional Court and is also demanding the approval of a family law that puts “the best interests of the minor” at the center.

For lawyer Emilia de Sousa, the statement “is not entirely negative because the reality is that it does not close the door to accumulation, but in this specific case, due to the specific forms and arguments of the prejudicial question and timing, it is not possible to assess this possibility.”