World Half Full
Finland boosts parental leave
From 2021, Finland will significantly increase parental leave. The policy change will benefit maternity and paternity leave alike, with a total of 164 days of paid leave (about 6.6 months) being available to both parents, 69 of those days transferable between parents.
Currently, women have 4.2 months of maternity leave and fathers 2.2 months, with a further six months’ of paid time off to split. Since only one in four of Finnish fathers use their allotted time, the government is hoping the policy change will “build a family leave scheme in line with today’s family concept.”
“The family leave reform is the government’s investment in the future of children and the wellbeing of families,” Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, said. “The reform . . . will improve equality between parents and make the lives of diverse families easier. The reform will support all kinds of families and ensure equal leave for children regardless of the form of the family. Sharing parent responsibilities in everyday life will become easier, and the relationship between both parents and the child will be strengthened from early childhood.”
Single parents will be entitled to take the full 328 days of paid leave under the new policy. And the pregnant parent can also receive one month of pregnancy allowance before their parental leave starts.
“The model guarantees the child a place at the centre of family benefits and promotes wellbeing and gender equality,” Pekonen said. “Above all, a change towards family-friendliness is needed in workplace attitudes, in society as a whole, and within families. I therefore invite employers to join us in this change and to look for means by which it is genuinely possible to combine working life and family.”
In Finland, women lead all five parties in the coalition government, which estimates the increased leave will cost €100 million a year.