The Government has completed and published its draft proposal for the family leave reform. The draft proposal will be circulated for comments between 19 February and 2 April 2021.
The Government has made specifications to the model of daily allowance days, giving each parent a quota of 160 daily allowance days (there are six daily allowance days per week).
In all, parental allowance would be paid for 12.8 months per child. Parents would be allowed to transfer up to 63 daily allowance days of their quota to the other parent. For the final stage of pregnancy, there would be a pregnancy allowance of 40 daily allowance days. This would mean that all in all, daily allowance days would amount to more than 14 months.
Single parents would have the right to use the parental allowance quotas of both parents. Twins, triplets and other multiple-birth children would form the only exception to this model — the quota of daily allowance days for their parents would increase by 78 daily allowance days per second child and every child thereafter.
Under the new model of family leave, parents could use daily allowance days until the child reaches the age of two. Daily allowance days could be used in several periods. Only pregnancy allowance days would have to be used in a single continuous period and started 14–30 days before the estimated due date. All parents who have custody of their child would have an equal right to daily allowance regardless of whether they are biological or adoptive, custodial or non-custodial and regardless of the gender of the parent.
As a result of the reform, the total number of family leave days would increase slightly from the current level. Family leaves now consist of the mother’s maternal allowance period (105 working days or approximately 4.2 months) which starts before the estimated due date , the father’s paternal allowance period (54 working days or approximately 9 weeks) and the parental allowance period which may be taken by one of the parents or shared between the parents (158 working days or approximately 6.3 months).
“The family leave reform is, first and foremost, about promoting the interests of the child. The new family leave model will treat every child equally, irrespective of the type of the family. It would encourage families to share childcare responsibilities more equally, thus giving both parents a good start for building a close relationship with their child,” says Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says that the aim of the reform is to encourage parents for a more balanced use of family leaves. This would mean above all that fathers would use their right to family leaves more than they do at present. If this objective was reached, the overall costs of family leaves to society would increase together with the total number of daily allowance days used by fathers.
“We will implement a family leave reform that supports the wellbeing of families. The reform will be an investment. It is about the income of families at an important stage of their lives, ” says Minister Pekonen.