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The newly minted Finnish government has given working dads a boost by announcing they will receive equal parental leave with their spouses.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin – the country’s first female leader – announced that the combined paid allowance will increase to a combined 14 months, totalling 164 days per parent.
While Finland’s parental leave scheme is generous, it still lags behind its Scandinavian neighbour, Sweden, which boasts Europe’s most generous scheme with 240 days pay parent after the birth of the baby.
Health and social affairs minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen told reporters that “a radical reform of family benefits” has started, aim to strengthen the relationship of parents from the outset, according to BBC News.
Under the new system, each parent would receive a total of 6.6 months’ leave (164 days under Finland’s six-day-week benefit system) and pregnant women would receive an additional month’s allowance.
Either parent would be allowed to transfer 69 days of their quota, while single parents could use both allowances.
The Prime Minister said in January that Finland still had some way to go to achieve gender equality, adding that too few fathers were spending enough time with their children when they were young.
The trend in parental leave is catching on in the rest of Europe with the EU giving a 2019 directive for all member countries to provide each parent with at least four months’ leave, including two months that cannot be transferred, within the next three years.