to get new benefits if they stay at home with the baby
Helsinki (14.02.2013 - Heikki
Jokinen) The law concerning paternity leave in Finland has been amended
since the beginning of the year, allowing the father to take longer paid
paternal leave. This is a part of the policy to divide childcare more
equally between parents and to encourage fathers to spend more time with
their new babies.
Paternity leave is now 54
working days altogether, approximately 9 weeks. According to Finland's
social security provider Kela the father can take 1-18 working days as
paternity leave after the child is born.
With this change in
paternity leave, fathers can be at home at the same time as the mother. Kela
will pay paternity allowance for the duration of the leave. Thus, the mother
is still entitled to maternity allowance during this period when both
parents are on leave.
The father can take the
rest of his paternity leave or the whole 54 working days after the maternity
allowance period. Paternal leave cannot be transferred to the mother and nor
is it deducted from the mother's entitlement.
About 73 per cent of
fathers take 18 days paternity leave after their child is born, but only 27
per cent availed of the "daddy month", which allowed the father to stay up
to 25 working days with the child.
Trade union confederations
support the change and it is included in the framework agreement of the
central labour market organisations from October 2011. The Finnish
Confederation of Professionals STTK began a campaign in February 2013 to
encourage fathers to make full use of their paternal leave.
The country is full of
real "hero mothers", says STTK, and wants to spur fathers on to be more
engaged when it comes to taking care of their own children. The
confederation launched a "Hero father" campaign including web material and
STTK also promises a free bib to the first 500 fathers who take advantage of
the prolonged paternity leave.
Both STTK and Akava, the
Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland are
advocating a so-called 6 + 6 + 6 model for paternal leave. In this model the
mother will have six months leave, the father six and the remaining six
months could be divided freely between parents.
The Central Organisation
of Finnish Trade Unions SAK stresses the need for greater flexibility in
parental leave as their goal. There has to be quotas for fathers, but the
part that parents can decide freely should be the biggest share of the
leave. The situation of families and demands of working life are different
and for this reason flexibility is crucial, says SAK.