• Sweden's news in English

Sweden alters parental leave benefit rules

17 Sep 2012, 11:53

Published: 17 Sep 2012 11:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Among the changes is a proposal to limit the number of days for which parents can claim benefits after a child's fourth birthday.

In addition, the government wants to raise the benefit levels paid to parents with the lowest or no incomes.

According to social affairs minister Göran Hägglund, the changes are part of an effort by the government to encourage immigrant mothers to enter the job market.

Sweden's current system of parental leave gives parents 480 days of paid leave per child.

"There are many who come to our country and have several children. They then received parental leave benefits for all of the days that most people in Sweden have already used," Hägglund told Sveriges Television (SVT).

The benefits can be claimed at any time up until a child's eighth birthday and include incentives to encourage parents with joint custody to share the days equally.

According to the proposed changes, however, only 20 percent of the days – 95 days – could be used after a child's fourth birthday.

"If you have several children, someone can be at home for several years without having any connection to the job market, so to speak, and that becomes a problem for many who come in late," Hägglund told SVT.

The current system also allows parents to claim benefits for 390 days at the equivalent to 80 percent of salary, up to a ceiling of 910 kronor ($138) per day.

The remaining 90 days, however, are paid out at a basic level of 180 kronor per day.

However, if parents don't have any registered income, either because they are unemployed or because their children were born outside of Sweden, benefits are capped at 180 kronor per day for the entire parental leave period.

Following the proposed changes, however, this minimum parental leave benefit level will be raised to 225 kronor per day, or the equivalent of 6,750 kronor per month, starting in January 1st, 2013.

Last year, 66,000 parents received leave benefits at the basic level, according to SVT.

"We think it's important to raise benefits at that leave; it's more important than raising the ceiling," said Hägglund.

Story continues below…

The government also wants to change rules to allow parents to take out parental leave benefits in connection with school vacations up until children turn 12, rather than having benefits expire after a child's eighth birthday.

Sweden's system of parental leave has garnered a great deal of attention abroad for helping women achieve a better work-life balance, and for encouraging fathers to stay home with young children.

A recent report issued by the International Council on Women's Business Leadership, an international advisory body under the wing of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, held up the Swedish model of parental leave as worth of emulation elsewhere.

The Local/dl

Follow The Local on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:42 September 17, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Wait... "raise the benefit levels paid to parents with the lowest or no incomes.... to encourage immigrant mothers to enter the job market."

What we have here is a government failure of understanding economic incentives. If you give people more pay for child leave, how will that incentivize them to go into the labor force when they make more money having kids than if they were working a job?
13:07 September 17, 2012 by Abe L
#1 pretty much hit the nail on the head.

A much bigger problem is the ceiling for people who already have jobs and would like to have children. Since you're sacrificing a large amount of your income and will probably not be able to pay your bills, you either don't have children or postpone it to an age where the odds of birth defects are way higher.

It is already very hard these days to get into a social situation where it's a sensible thing to have children. Provided you want them to grow up in a safe and normal environment with maximum success of properly integrating in society at an older age.

These suggested changes do not encourage immigrant women to get jobs, it encourages immigrants to have more children. While the same rules are essentially discouraging the native population from having children in the first place. I think the government should be more concerned with the latter as that will eventually benefit everyone a lot more.
08:06 September 18, 2012 by Puffin
@ Abe L.

What on earth are you talking about? You think that getting 80% of your salary for staying home with your baby is "sacrificing a large amount of your salary"? The amounts of 180/225kr discussed in this article only relate to the sums that are paid to those who have not worked or earned more that 225kr for each day in the 240 days prior to the birth. If you have worked then the max you get is over 900kr/day or a max income of around 27,000kr/month for a whole year. Ovbiously this does not cover whole salary of a high income earner but most people plan ahead. The amounts paid in Sweden are very generous compared to other countries.

@ bourgeoisieboheme

This amount is not just paid to immigrants but to all people in Sweden who have not worked. The problem is that the previous amountof max 5400kr/month was too low to actually live on so for example students who found themselves accidently pregnant found that they got only 2/3 of the student grant level.

The way that they are encouraging work is by limiting the number of days - previously you could arrive as an immigrant with a 5 year old and 6 year old and claim 2x480 days whereas of course most Swedes are forced to take the bulk of their days in year 1 owing to the lack of childcare for children under 1 - now for children over 4 on arrival in Sweden will only get 95 days
10:44 September 20, 2012 by smilingjack
where does the $138 come from. oh thats right - your a state of the USA.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available