Even in 2015, whether there is full gender equality in the labour market is a valid question. In many cases (for example with regard to promotion or salary) the question probably has to be answered to the detriment of the women, but in some cases it is the other way round. The Dutch regulation on paternity leave is a good example of this.

In the Netherlands female employees are entitled to a total of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. Four to six weeks can be taken prior to the expected date of childbirth ("zwangerschapsverlof") and the remaining weeks are considered to be childbirth leave ("bevallingsverlof"). If the child is born later than the expected delivery date, the mother keeps the right to a minimum of 10 weeks of maternity leave after the delivery date. In principle, the maternity leave is paid by the Dutch social insurance body (UWV).

Another, less generous, regulation applies to Dutch fathers: they are entitled to two days' paid paternity leave, to be taken in the first four weeks after birth. As from 1 January 2015 fathers are entitled to three additional days' unpaid parental leave.

As a result of this regulation, a Dutch father has not only a short period of (paid) paternity leave in comparison with the maternity leave of the Dutch mother; he also ranks low in comparison to other European countries. This appears from the "State of The World's Fathers" 2015 report stating that the Netherlands scores below the European average on the length of paternity leave.

In response to the report, the Dutch minister of Social Affairs and Employment initially said that involved fathers are important for Dutch society and that the (extension of) paternity leave is a target of the political agenda, but that he was not willing to anticipate any policy measures.

Nevertheless, the Dutch Parliament recently announced on State Opening of Parliament in September that it is their intention to extend the paid paternity leave from two days to five days. For now, it is not fully clear whether (and when) the paternity leave will actually be extended, but the announcement of the intention gives hope for future parents.

However, a (small) side note: approximately 9% of the working Dutch fathers are not likely to be interested in possible, future changes, because recent research shows that 9% of the fathers didn't take paternity leave at all, because they felt no need to.