GENEVA — The Swiss government says petitioners have successfully collected enough signatures to launch a nationwide referendum that would grant new fathers at least 20 days of paid paternity leave, up from one day today.

The issue strikes at the heart of the work-life balance debate and would put Switzerland in line with more generous paternity leave in other parts of Western Europe, like France and Germany.

The government said Thursday that petitioners who launched the signature drive in July had met the requirement for at least 100,000. Voters in Switzerland are regularly called to cast ballots on major political decisions as part of the Alpine nation’s form of direct democracy.

Parliament will now decide when the referendum can take place, though a vote is not likely for months.