”The benefits for parents have become more complicated to calculate due to the in-work tax credit and the gender equality bonus. It could be that many fear that they will lose too much money if the dad stays home,” said Niklas Löfgren, financial spokesperson at Försäkringskassan.
Another probable explanation behind the high number of non-claimants could be the differing attitudes towards parental leave among men in Sweden.
The study showed that some 18.2 percent of fathers compared to 1.6 percent of mothers have never claimed any parental leave benefits.
Researches also found a strong link between a lower level of education and the choice not to take out parental leave within the male group.
Among those with only primary education, 46 percent of the men did not take a single day of parental leave, while the corresponding figure among those with a university education of at least two years was about 14 percent.
Very young fathers, very old fathers and fathers who were not born in Sweden were also over-represented among parents who didn’t claim any parental leave, according to the study.
46.2 percent of fathers originating in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Turkey, failed to claim any parental leave. Among Swedish-born fathers the corresponding number was 13.2.
However, the study also showed that on the whole, the number of father’s taking parental leave is rising. In 2010 fathers in Sweden took out 23 percent of all parental leave. In 2000 this number was 12.4 percent.
The researchers also saw a clear link between the introduction of the months reserved solely for the father/mother and an increase in men claiming parental benefit.
This scheme was introduced in the middle of the nineties, first with 30 days reserved exclusively for each parent in 1995. From 2002 the number of days was increased to 60 days.
If the development continues, researchers predict that the division of parental leave will be 60 percent claimed by the mothers and 40 percent by the fathers by 2025.