’51 years to shared parental leave’: report

At the current pace of change it will take 51 years before Swedish parents achieve parity with regards to the division of parental leave, a new report shows.

The proportion of fathers taking out parental leave has stagnated over the past three years, according to the annual Pappa index published by the TCO union.

Dads currently take 22 percent of the allotted days available for parents to take care of their children, a rise of barely one percent since 2008. The report concludes that it will take 51 years at the current rate for the days to be split equally.

“The Pappa index is rising much slower than in the beginning of the 2000s,” TCO chairperson Sture Nordh said.

The figures show significant variations, with Kronoberg achieving parity in 24 years at current rates of change, while Västmanland can expect to wait six centuries.

“The goal of having more dads taking parental leave has to be strongly prioritized and achieved much faster,” Nordh said.

Nordh argued that it is important that the workplace showed flexibility towards parents of small children.

“It is important for children to form a strong bond with their fathers and it is important that the workplace is adjusted for parents – dads and mums – of small children, who have a joint responsibility for their children,” Nordh said.

The index is a combination of the share of the total number of parental leave days taken as well as the proportion of men who take parental leave, where an index value of 100 represents the equal sharing of leave between parents.

As in 2008 the county with the highest index value is Västerbottern in northern Sweden with 46.4 and the lowest is Skåne in the far south with 34.4.

The Swedish system of parental leave allows for a total of 480 days’ leave per child which can used up until the child starts school at seven. 60 of these days are reserved for each parent, while the other days can be disposed of as the parents deem fit.

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