New Fathers Set To Get A THIRD Month Of Paid Paternity Leave In Sweden
The Swedish government is preparing to give new fathers a third week of paid paternity leave as part of a deal which sees new parents offered up to 16 months off work.
Under the new proposals, fathers would be offered 90 days paid time off as part of a 'use it or lose it' deal, which means it cannot be transferred to mothers.
The plans are aimed at encouraging men to spend more time at home with their newborns after statistics revealed that 75 per cent of parental leave is still taken by mothers.
In total, parents in Sweden are offered 480 days of paid leave. They can earn a maximum of £75 per day for the first 390 days, then around £15 for the final 90 days.
Ten months of the allowance can be split between either parent, even down to the hour, but three months has to be taken by the mother or it will be lost.
The new law would make that the same for fathers, who currently have an allowance of two months of 'use it or lose it' time.
According to The Local, social security minister Annika Strandhäll told Swedish Radio that the third month 'is something we've really looked forward to. We know that this is a key issue towards attaining greater (gender) equality.'
Sweden's parental leave is among the most generous allowances in the world, with the UK only offering fathers two weeks of dedicated paid leave, while the U.S. offers no paid leave at all.
Swedish men were first granted a dedicated month of leave in 1995, with a second added in 2002, and legislators now expect the third to be added in the autumn.
According to the World Economic Forum, Sweden ranks fourth in the world in terms of gender equality, behind fellow northern European countries Iceland, Finland and Norway.
Around 80 per cent of children in Sweden have parents who both work, while 77 per cent of women were holding down a stable job according to 2013 data.
However, men still earn more on average each month than women, as only around 44 per cent of females worked full-time, compared with 75 per cent of males.
The government is also trying to encourage more women into full time roles by guaranteeing discounted childcare from the age of 12 months, giving them the opportunity to go back to work.