As was widely expected, the supreme court on Wednesday ruled as unconstitutional, two laws passed by parliament in June last year extending the right to paternity allowance to unmarried men and those not in a civil partnership.
The proposals, submitted by main opposition Akel, extended the eligibility criteria to include fathers who live with the mother of their child but were not married.
Despite warnings they were unconstitutional, the bills were voted into law with 25 votes for, 15 against and nine abstentions.
Diko abstained from the vote, citing unconstitutionality of the law, while ruling Disy voted against, for the same reason.
The supreme courts said the laws were unconstitutional since they increased government expenditure and neither were the result of harmonisation with the EU aquis.
“It is obvious that at European Union level there is no directive forcing member states to grant a paternal allowance or holiday,” the supreme court said.
The labour ministry had argued during discussion of the proposals at committee level that the law granting paternity allowance, passed in 2017, was based on precise calculations of the cost of this benefit to couples who married in a church, or had a civil marriage, or who had entered into a civil partnership.
To also entitle people who are unmarried, or not in a civil partnership would inflate the cost to the social insurance fund, the ministry had said.