Finland Brings Equality to Parental Leave Amid Fertility Crisis


(Bloomberg) --

The Nordic nation with the lowest fertility rate is increasing parental leave to a total of about 14 months, with both parents asked to share the time off in equal measure.

Social Affairs Minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said “the reform will be a major change in attitudes, as it will improve equality between parents and make the lives of diverse families easier.”

“Sharing parent responsibilities in everyday life will become easier, and the relationship between both parents and the child will be strengthened from the early childhood,” Pekonen said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the total amount of families’ daily allowance days would increase from the current 11.5 months to more than 14 months, with both parents receiving an equal quota of 164 days. Parents would be able to transfer 69 days from their own quota to the other parent. A single parent, on the other hand, would have access to the daily allowance quotas for both parents.

The reform is due to come into force in the autumn of 2021 at the earliest, the ministry said, at an additional cost to the daily allowance program of 100 million euros ($110 million).

Finland is suffering from an aging population, with the country’s population expected to start shrinking during the next decade.

The government is headed by the world’s youngest female leader, 34-year-old Sanna Marin, and the majority of her cabinet members are women.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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