• Sweden edition
Shorter parental leave for immigrants: minister

Shorter parental leave for immigrants: minister

Published: 18 Jun 2011 12:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jun 2011 12:51 GMT+02:00

Immigrant parents with young children should have a shorter parental leave when the family moves to Sweden Centre Party's leader and minister for enterprise and energy Maud Olofsson said in an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR).

This controversial suggestion is aimed at helping immigrant women to quickly get a foothold on the job market.

"I think it is a problem when people are unable to become a part of Swedish society," Olofsson said to SR, calling parental leave a "trap" for women.

Olofsson refers to a report published this week by the Expert Group for Public Finances, which showed that parental leave can lead to immigrant women, without connection to the labour market, remaining unemployed.

Statistics have shown that women born outside of Sweden are the group who have most trouble establishing themselves on the Swedish labour market.

Today, anyone who arrives in Sweden are entitled to 16 months of parental benefit (föräldrapenning) for their child, even if the child is four or five when he or she arrives in Sweden. The basic level of parental leave is 5,400 kronor ($857) tax-free per child per month.

The authors of the report also want to scrap the childcare allowance (vårdnadsbidraget), a benefit strongly promoted by the Christian Democrats, which provides parents with up to 3,000 kronor tax-free per child per month.

In effect since July 1st, 2008, the childcare allowance is available to parents of children aged one to three years old who forego the option of sending their children to a publicly financed preschool.

Not only do parental leave and the childcare allowance constitute obstacles for women to enter the workforce, but they also hamper older children who could have begun pre-school and started learning Swedish immediately, the authors claim.

Instead they promote the idea of linking the amount of parental leave allotted when a foreign-born child arrives in Sweden with its age on arrival. That way the older the child is, the shorter the amount of time off would be.

Equality minister Nyamko Sabuni of the Liberal Party put forward a similar suggestion last year, which was heavily criticised, and the Liberal Party's head Jan Björklund quickly renounced all discrimination of non-Swedish parents.

Integration minister Erik Ullenhag said this week that he wants to take a closer look at the suggestions made in the report before making any comments.

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

14:44 June 18, 2011 by yyyvxyyy
1:- see how Sweden is planing to destroy families and family system but first this capitalist thinking will take effect on under privileged people.

2:- this is reward for a women who is giving a new Swedish worker , or may be it is time to decide that Jews will have different rights then Egyptians under new faro

3:- whole Europe need manpower , skilled worker crises is on its way and they need less babies.

4:- this is only plan which government have to helping immigrant women to quickly get a foothold on the job market. but what other plans for immigrant man they also have no good foothold infect many in sweden have bad foot hold right now .. out masters should tell us our new rights when they are agree on capitalist agendas
15:07 June 18, 2011 by Kaethar
I agree with Ullenhaag. I'd need to look at the full suggestions along with the reports showing why such an act is necessary before I make any judgement.
15:12 June 18, 2011 by Brtahan
Thats right their sight is very short! Ex integration minister is a Askissing person who thinks with her views she can please swedes and stay in power ... All should have the same rights, instead of this why not see what the govt imports the most and try to produce it here, thus producing jobs.
16:39 June 18, 2011 by technoviking
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:45 June 18, 2011 by miss79
i taught she is resigning or am i wrong tat she really wants to stay in power?
17:00 June 18, 2011 by Tall swede
People in sweden get time off so they can be home the first time with the baby. When immigrants come they can have a couple of much older kids, and then immediately get a bunch of years paid vacation for just getting their asses inside our borders. That is not fair. The tax payers of Sweden should not be forced to retroactively pay for time when these people where not even in Sweden!
17:21 June 18, 2011 by prince T
Reading all this comments here make me sick. If one should write something TL will remove your comment. This particular discussion have turned racial already. I know where Maud is coming from, thoug i dont agree with her views.
17:55 June 18, 2011 by riose
@prince T Absolutely agree with you.

Most of the users are so worried about blaming immigrants for everything that they do not realize they are immigrants.
19:05 June 18, 2011 by calebian22
If you haven't paid into the system, you shouldn't get the same benefits of those already in the system. That just makes sense and it is not bigoted or racist.
19:14 June 18, 2011 by technoviking
@ princet

Please point out the racial comments.

I don't see them.
19:35 June 18, 2011 by Puffin

"If you haven't paid into the system, you shouldn't get the same benefits of those already in the system. "

Answer: you don't - you get a lower level of benefit
20:01 June 18, 2011 by technoviking

And they should get none.

Increase payments to the people who've worked for it instead.

Or improve daycare.
20:11 June 18, 2011 by calebian22

You are correct. I misstated that. However, even at a lower percentage, as a Swede, you are okay with them getting a retroactive payment of parental leave? You do realize that if you pay them, you are taking money away from someone who actually deserves it, right?
21:38 June 18, 2011 by johnny1939
Help the people that really need it. Let the rest of us fend for ourselves.
22:12 June 18, 2011 by Brtahan
Swedes turn will come ! if they accept shorter parental leave for immigrants... Whats the problem with ppl when they pay tax , you all are getting it back , free schools,hospitals,pension,lots of stuff from Fk inwhich you can get back the tax ,better roads etc maybe not to everyones taste but you get it back in some way or the other. So stop whining !!!Why the heck you all which are from Capitalist USA who pay Tax there and dont get any benefits like sweden gives its citizens, think what swedes do want and dont want.
23:11 June 18, 2011 by technoviking
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:15 June 19, 2011 by yyyvxyyy
for those who say who work thay have rights then for you kind information in time when EU need manpower having a baby is more Nobel work then your job.

if you do not need immigrant babies then you gona need more immigrants you better know which suits better , a swedish baby or an immigrant .

it is not benifit of parents but it is for future genration and child care , because as a person it does not effect me if i dont have a baby but if i have one and not getting my parental rights then it is going to effect Child more then me.

and if govt will decide to give not equal benefits then immigrants should have to pay less tax , they will have a valid reason for not being participative. and whole industry in sweden if filled with skilled immigrants and they say they need more.

in globalization era such idiot thinking is suicide to kill your first born or swedish fero wana kill first born of jews because they are afraid of The deliverer
00:16 June 19, 2011 by Iraniboy

Unfortunately some parasites can last many years without food and air. Their head is surrounded by concrete so no new information can get into their heads. So they only want uset he same information already inside their head and to live one way, one race, one language, one...and eveything else is wrong!
01:23 June 19, 2011 by jacquelinee
I agree completely with this. However, why does it haveto be covered up by a lie? Limiting parental leave under these cicumstances is about saving money. Period. And that is fine and much needed because some of those provisional payouts are ridiculous. But it has NOTHING to do with getting immigrant women into the work force really.
01:27 June 19, 2011 by uunbeliever
Yes because living off of 3400:- a month is leeching. Think before you speak. The system is to benefit everyone not just those of "right background". I vote that we stop paying lazy swedes on "burn out" leave or stop paying for medical for smokers and those who drink and injure themselves... it's all or nothing. When we came here we were offered the föräldrarledighet money but didn't take it, neither do I take pappa ledighet money. Yes I am an immigrant in this great country, but a fair one. Please don't put those who abuse the system in the "bad immigrant" section. I know a great many swedes who abuse this system, don't want to work, quit their jobs to get the summer off etc. etc. I appreciate that the system is there if I need it and will pay into it for those who do use it right now.
03:06 June 19, 2011 by TvAmazon
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:59 June 19, 2011 by Puffin

You *do*understand that this is a cheap option for the state?? That giving them 5K per month and refusing access to dagis saves around 80K per year?
09:07 June 19, 2011 by bjorkon
This is not just applicable to immigrants. It applies to anyone - including Swedes - who have had children living abroad. What shocked us on returning to Sweden with our kids was that we were STILL given the full entitlement to parental leave. Even if our kids are older. This is crazy CRAZY waste of money from whatever way you look at it. If we do get the entitlement it should be pro-rata based on their age. We could spend the next 2-3 years off - and that's just crazy.
11:31 June 19, 2011 by Puffin
@ bjorkon

Yeah - I'm sure that you would really be living the high life on 180kr per day before tax (snort)
11:48 June 19, 2011 by Rebel
How many kids did this old bat contribute to the future of Sweden?
11:57 June 19, 2011 by bjorkon
@ puffin

I thought parental leave was based on salary? Once we've worked for a few months we can then draw on the parental leave at more than 180kr/day. I could be wrong ..
14:14 June 19, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
just these3500sek hahahah

well i think now in sweden any immigrants will have much problem.

swedish law is different for swede and different for immigrants.

what does EU means. swedish government should think about the future jobs.

Immigrants and swede both pay same taxes.than why only immigrant.

get out the immigrants than sweden will have no problem.but dont buy food and other stuff from other countries specially OIL.

the LAW must be same for everyone.dont take more taxes from immigrants.one more thing swede never give jobs to immigrants for very sure.they will give you that jobs which they cannt do that job.in sweden if someone waste time than stay.if not than leave sweden.if immigrants stay in sweden they cannt be successful,because they give no good jobs in sweden even thoug your much qualified doesnt matter. good luck sweden
14:17 June 19, 2011 by comment123
Instead of going for this controversial debate they can allow kids to start dagis at an earlier age. I am a double masters degree holder mother who is in 6th year of hardwork and no appreciation at all. My life could have been much easier if I was able to send my first child to dagis at an earlier age and finish my swedish degree. Now I have a dinosuar size time hole in my CV and I am actually weighing odds of start working in dagis myself. We are not refugees. My hubby is engineer and he got visa for his job. We pay more taxes than many swedes and hence can't pay for private childcare. I feel like an inmate sometimes. We have more than 400 days left of föraldrarledighet as taking 180 krowns a day doesn't make much sense.

If swedish govt. thinks that it has right to tax us this much than it should at least provide child care when we need. It may help we immigrant women who need to establish our career alongside childbearing and raising.
15:45 June 19, 2011 by capricorn80
Agree with comment123.

We pay more tax. We work more than 40 hours and with more dedication. If you are taking about shorter parental leave how about less tax??
17:06 June 19, 2011 by UKperson66
Charming ... biting off the arm that feeds you!?!? Sweden depends on immigrants, like most countries, and yet wants to treat them like 2nd class citizens. Exploitation anyone?
20:18 June 19, 2011 by Puffin

a pity that you see no value in taking time to be at home with you babies as "taking 180 crowns a day doesn't make much sense" - even though I am more highly educated than you I don't regret the time I spent with my babies

Of course you can get childcare before the age of 10-12 months but you have to pay the full cost yourself. If you cannot afford to stay homefor 180kr per day how would you afford the 15,000+kr per month that dagis for tiny babies would cost? - or are you expecting an even bigger subsidy from the state?

Personally I'd hate to see Sweden going down the route of putting tiny babies in dagis at a few weeksold
20:29 June 19, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
other countries are not like that,if immigrant lives in germany and usa and norway and canada all the people are same.bt swedish mentality is very low. one swedish woman she did Phd from USA and she didnt get job coz of jealous system and other stuff.if immigrants work for americans than americans says your americans.the low mentality in sweden.its worse.basically swede are 2nd class mentality as for UKperson66 lol good luck
21:08 June 19, 2011 by comment123
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:11 June 20, 2011 by jamesblish
The reason a lot of these women (and men) are unable to establish themselves on the job market is because a majority of them are unskilled and therefore, they shouldn't have any jobs since there are plenty of unemployed skilled people around and they ought to get them first, yes?
12:51 June 21, 2011 by Scambaiter
jamesblish...what tosh.

One on my friends is a double graduate from the best university in the Ukraine, who just happens to have been driving a taxi at Arlanda for the last 20 years. He's one of the most educated men ou're likely to meet, but he can't get a job as a doctor in Sweden because the majority of Swedes are just slightly racist and prefer doctors with names like Svensson and Johansson who can speak "proper Swedish" = fact.

His is one of dozens of cases I've come across.

Add to that the fact that the majority of political (and economic) refugees are the educated middle classes.

As for myself I've lived and worked in Sweden (and paid copious taxes) for the past 20 years, never claimed social benefits, yet I will, of course, receive a much smaller pension than native Swedes. Why should I be discriminated with parental benefits as well?
Today's headlines
Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

An elementary school in southern Sweden was evacuated on Wednesday and dozens of pupils were taken to hospital after the smell of gas spread through the rooms. READ () »

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock
The Flymen Church weathercock in all its newly gilded glory. Photo: TT

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock

A Swedish churchwarden has reacted with joy upon finding out the parish has Sweden's nicest weathercock. READ () »

Greens push rich tax to finance schools
Per Bolund of The Greens. File photo: TT

Greens push rich tax to finance schools

Sweden's third largest party The Greens revealed its shadow budget on Wednesday, targeting schools and youth employment. High earners would have to pitch in more. READ () »

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'
Ibiza, you say? File photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'

Mythbusting Swedish researchers have found no link between gushing about your upcoming holiday online and returning to an emptied house. They told The Local that a trip to Ikea could be much more dangerous. READ () »

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft
The people in this picture are not those from the story. Photo: TT

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft

A woman in Gothenburg who accused a beggar of robbing her has been charged with fraud and false accusations. READ () »

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Photo: Kungahuset

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess

Sweden's royal family has set the date for the baptism of Princess Leonore. READ () »

The Local List
Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

With Swedish Game of Thrones fans frothing at the mouth at the season four premiere, The Local revisits its list of ten reasons why the hit books and show are (probably) based in Sweden. READ () »

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers
The Kockums Malmö shipyard and FMV headquarters. Files: TT

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

After the Swedish military raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp, a military expert tells The Local why recent Russian aggression means Sweden's Saab needs to take control of national submarine production. READ () »

Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
Abba duo hints at reunion
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
People-watching April 11-13
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
People-watching, March 28-30
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit: