Parental ‘child sick leave’ peaks in February

Each February, Swedish parents take an estimated 600,000 paid leave days to take care of sick children, according to new Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) statistics.

The number of so called “care of child” (vård of barn) days almost triples each year during what is often the country’s most wintry month. During the summer months, about 200,000 paid parental leave days in Sweden are related to sick children.

“The reason for the big difference is partially that parents have holidays in the summer and are already home to a great extent if their children get sick. Also, infections like influenza and the winter vomiting bug are more common during winter, when children are gathered together in schools and day care,” Niklas Löfgren, a social insurance researcher at the agency told news agency TT.

Although there is often speculation that parents in Sweden coincidentally claim to be home caring for sick children during major sporting events, Löfgren says there is no statistical evidence to support the allegations.

“We have investigated whether there is an increase in ‘care of child’ days in parallel with the World Cup and the Olympics but we did not see any increase. Or at least it was so marginal that it did not show up in the statistics.”

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