Finland Announces Equal Paid Parental Leave For Men And Women

Paid parental leave, for those who are able to access it, is a godsend. Finland has just announced an overhaul of its parental leave system — one that will give moms and dads alike ample time to raise their kids.

It's an initiative from Finland's new government.

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Sanna Marin, who's just 34 years old, was elected Finland's prime minister last December after serving in the country's parliament since 2015. Marin's Social Democrat party is known for its progressive positions on social issues.

They've extended paid parental leave.

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Under Finland's old system, parents were given 11 ½ months of total paid leave. But, starting in 2021 at the earliest, the Finnish Parliament is increasing that to a little over 14 months.

It's big news for dads.

Under the current system, moms were given 4.2 months of maternity leave, dads got 2.2 months, and six additional months could be shared. But the new system is designed to get dads to take more time off.

How does it all break down?

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Because only about one in four Finnish fathers takes their allotted time off, the country's new government wanted to encourage more dads to take time off. The new system is simple: each parent gets 6.6 months of paid leave.

What about moms?

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Given that they're the ones who actually give birth, it makes sense to give moms a little extra time off — and that's just what they're getting. In addition to the 6.6 months' leave apiece, pregnant women will get an additional month off.

Flexibility is built into the system.

Of the paid leave, 69 days can be transferred to the other parent. Single parents face unique challenges, so they're given the same amount of paid leave as two parents combined.

Scandinavia is leading the way.

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Finland's Nordic neighbor, Sweden, gives each parent 240 days off, enough to lead Europe in that category. Estonia, which is also on the Baltic Sea, gives moms a whopping 85 weeks of paid leave, although fathers don't get as much.

Parents will no doubt appreciate it.

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First time parents in particular will be given that much more time to bond with their baby and learn to be parents without worrying about finances and rushing back to work.

More countries are moving in this direction.

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) encompasses most western countries. Of its member countries, all offer paid parental leave — all, that is, except for the United States.

Parents, what do you think?


This is an encouraging, and compassionate, trend — one that should improve mental health in both parents and lead to stronger bonds between parents and kids. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!