Lucimar da Silva can take four months off work rather than five-day paternity leave after social security agency ruling
A gay man in Brazil has been granted a four-month “maternity” leave for a child he and his civil partner adopted.
Lucimar da Silva will be the first father in his country to benefit from a paid leave equal in length to the one granted to a mother, rather than the usual five days off work for paternity.
When two years ago Da Silva, a banker from Gravesend in the Brazilian southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, and his partner, Rafael Gerhardt, adopted their child, the couple went to court to argue that at least one of them should be entitled to a longer period of leave.
Brazil’s social security agency has now agreed with the men that it would be discriminatory if one of them was not granted the time off. Da Silva will now take the longer leave.
“However unusual it may seem to grant maternity leave to a male person … this hypothesis is possible when the father takes care of the newborn,” the agency said, according to the quotes carried by the website of the Brazilian TV network O Globo.
This decision, however, does not set a legal precedent, according to the agency, and other gay couples seeking the same privilege in future should challenge the state individually. Lesbian couples can already have the four-month leave.
In a landmark decision in May 2011, Brazil’s supreme court ruled that same-sex partners were entitled to every legal right enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
“With this decision for Da Silva, our rights as citizens are more recognised by the state,” Carlos Tufvesson, a prominent Brazilian gay rights activist based in Rio de Janeiro told the Guardian, adding that despite the supreme court’s decision, there was still more work to be done because the ruling had not been respected entirely across the country.
“As gay activists, we don’t fight to gain any special rights. We are fighting to have the same rights as any other citizen and our constitution is very clear when it states that every citizen is equal before the law,” he added.
In the UK, one of the two adoptive parents, who may both be the same sex, qualifies for 52 weeks’ leave provided he or she has been employed for 26 weeks at the qualification date, according to Stonewall, a charity working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals.
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