Life Style

In Finland, seven months of parental leave, for both mother and father



The Finnish government expects a lot from this. A better distribution of parental responsibilities between men and women, to begin with. And who knows, maybe even an increase in the birth rate, which does not allow today to consider a renewal of the generations (1.4 children per woman).

“Reform of love”

The ruling coalition, which has the particularity of being led by five women (four of whom are under 35), presented last February a system of parental leave of 360 days in total, valid until two years of age. child, with 160 working days of allowance (i.e. the equivalent of seven months including weekends) for both father and mother (1). This is two months longer than in the previous model. And, small revolution: the rights will be transferable from one parent to another up to 63 days!

→ READ. The extension of paternity leave definitively adopted

“I wish it could be a reform of love”, said Minister of Social Affairs (Left Alliance) Aino-Kaisa Pekonen during the presentation of these measures. The final adoption of the law is scheduled for the fall, for entry into force in August 2022. The operation is not financially neutral. The estimated additional cost could reach 80 million euros, recognizes the government.

But the provisions of the new law could also create value, said the minister. “When fathers receive more daily allowance quotas, women can return to work sooner. Thanks to this, the reform can have a positive effect on employment. “

Imbalances to be corrected

In the old system, gender equality was already a concern. Father and mother could share 158 days during which Kela, the equivalent of Social Security, paid them parental allowance. This time was added to the maternity leave spanning 105 days before and after the birth, during which the father could benefit from three weeks.

Extended paternity leave, short and long term benefits

But in fact, those 158 days were used 90% by the mother and only 10% by the father. The researcher attached to the Ministry of Health and Welfare Johanna Närvi believes that new measures can be expected to rebalance roles, as well as a more harmonious family life. “Children will be the big winners because they are more likely to be looked after by both parents and to have a closer relationship with them”, she says.

Finland has been a pioneer country in Europe for years. The only country offering a comparable right is Spain (sixteen weeks of leave, for each of the two parents, equally, from July 1, 2021). All the others are well below, from Poland (15 days) to Portugal (25 days, including 20 compulsory), not to mention Germany, Croatia or Slovakia, where this right does not even exist (2) .

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