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Internal Market: ESA takes Norway to Court for discrimination against fathers



EN  | NO

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) considers that the Norwegian rules on paid parental leave discriminate on grounds of sex. This is a breach of EEA rules. ESA has therefore decided to bring Norway before the EFTA Court.


"Equal treatment is a core principle of EEA law. When Norwegian authorities systematically and illegally treat women and men differently, it is ESA's job to hold them to account", says ESA President Bente Angell-Hansen.

In Norway, certain limits on the grant of paid parental leave only apply to fathers. According to the Norwegian system, the father's right to paid leave is dependent upon the mother's work situation, but the mother's right does not depend on the work situation of the father. 

The result is that fathers' rights to parental leave are more restricted. In ESA's view, this constitutes a breach of the Equal Treatment Directive (2006/54/EC).

“The EEA rules do not require Norway to offer paid parental leave. However, if such a system is in place, it must be founded on equal treatment”, says Angell-Hansen.

Today's court referral is the third and final stage in ESA's formal infringement proceedings against Norway. Norwegian authorities have had several opportunities to voice their opinion and have made it clear they do not consider that the Equal Treatment Directive applies. ESA disagrees, and it is now up to the EFTA Court to settle the matter.

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For further information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Vestbakke
Head of Communications
tel. +32 2 286 18 66
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

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