Changes to Sweden's parental leave law: What do they mean for you?

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Changes to Sweden's parental leave law: What do they mean for you?
Sweden's generous parental leave allowance has been adapted with step-families and same-sex couples in mind. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

The way that parental leave works is changing, meaning that more people will be entitled to the benefit. Here's a look at the changes coming into effect from July 1st.


A lot of new laws are about to come into force. Here's a list of some of them.

From the start of that month, parents will be able to transfer some of their parental leave allowance to their partner, even if that partner does not have legal custody of the child. All that's required is that the two adults live together in a registered partnership, called sambo status in Sweden.

This means that if the child's two biological parents are not in a relationship, but one biological parent has a new partner, that partner can now take paid leave from work to care for the child.

As well as making life easier for families with a step-parent, the law change will also apply to couples, particularly same-sex couples, who undergo artificial insemination overseas.


Currently, in such cases only the parent who gave birth to the child is entitled to parental leave until their partner has completed the process of adopting the child. But under the new law, it would be possible for the parent who gave birth to transfer some of their parental leave days to their partner even before the adoption process is complete.

There is no requirement for the partner to be married to the legal or biological parent, or to have begun any legal adoption process of the child. The change comes following a parliamentary decision made last autumn. 

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Basic parental leave allowance in Sweden is 480 days of parental leave per child, so parents sharing custody will split that number and parents with sole custody have the full 480. 

The starting point is that both parents have an equal share of the leave: 240 days each, but each parent can transfer part of their leave to the other parent if they wish, and now they can also transfer leave to their partner even if that is not the same person as the child's parent.

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