I am posting today about the amazing parental leave that the Swedish government provides for EVERYONE. Take note, World. This is how it should work!
State-sponsored parental leave (‘föräldraledighet’) is arguably more generous in Sweden than anywhere else. Parents are entitled to a total of 480 days paid leave per child, with both mothers and fathers entitled and encouraged to share the leave. The leave can be taken at any time until the child reaches the age of seven.
Parental benefits are paid out by the state, through the Swedish Social Insurance Administration (‘Försäkringskassan’). Yes, that’s right. All of those awful taxes we happily pay go toward this.
In line with the Swedish state’s strict policy of promoting sexual equality, mothers and fathers are expected to share the 480 days equally. It is possible for one parent to take up to 420 days of the total leave, but the remaining 60 days are then reserved for the other parent. “The principle is that you split it in half, but that the father can donate part of his leave to the mother, or vice versa.”
Parental leave is a legal right for all parents in Sweden. If you have a young child your employer is obliged to give you time off work. In addition to the paid leave of 480 days per couple per child, you are entitled to reduce your working time by 25 percent. This, however, is not compensated for by the state. But how much money will you get? Well, this is where it gets really complicated. I am sure you aren’t reading this blog to do any official planning for this, so I am not going to get into the confusing details. I will mention though, because I think it is amazing how generous the Swedish government is (and this rule applied to me) If you have not been earning money in Sweden prior to your child’s birth, you are still entitled to parental benefits, paid at the basic level of 180 (about $23USD) kronor per day. Even if you’re new to Sweden, you are entitled to this basic benefit (as long as you are legally resident here). To claim your benefits and to find out how much you are entitled to in your particular circumstances, contact your local branch of Försäkringskassan.
WHAT DOES THIS PROGRAM REALLY PROVIDE??
Our children are at home with us for at least one year! That means no 8 week old babies going to daycare. That means if a Mom chooses to breastfeed, there is no going in the bathroom at work to pump for hours a day = babies get to breastfeed longer. It means more than we can ever really imagine. There is no way to know the many benefits that our children get from this, but I can say that this is one of the hundreds of reasons why I take pride in raising my children in this amazing country!