Last month, Swedes took 663,000 days off work to stay at home and care for a sick child (VAB – Vård av barn), according to new statistics from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).
This figure corresponds to around 200,000 more days than in February 2012.
Swedish law states that parents taking VAB days are entitled to benefits, and the agency paid out a total of 586 million kronor ($91.5 million) in February alone this year.
Experts have pointed to an easier application process for the increased figures, as applications last year needed to be mailed and also took a longer time to be verified.
But doctors have also seen a higher number of sick children.
“The VAB record depends on several contributing factors. Viral infections like influenza and the norovirus have hit significantly harder this winter,” Göran Modin, doctor at the social insurance agency, wrote in a statement.
February is typically the month when most Swedes take VAB days for their sick children, and the month is even referred to Vabruari. Sixty-three percent of all VAB days were taken by women in 2012.