Sweden is planning to introduce a third month of paid parental leave reserved for fathers as of 2016, in a bid to further increase gender equality, the country’s government has just announced.
The country's Left Party is hoping for more individualized paid time off for new parents, according to Sveriges Radio, Sweden's English radio service. Observer's believe that the proposal has a good chance of being enacted by parliament.
Annika Strandhall, Sweden's social insurance minister, says it has been 13 years since the second month of paternity leave was introduced. A third month “is something we’ve really looked forward to. We know that this is a key issue towards attaining greater [gender] equality,” Strandhäll told Radio Sweden.
Of the 38 countries represented in a 2013 Pew study, the United States is the only country to not offer mandatory paid leave for new parents.The Left Party is pushing for more equally divided parental leave for moms and dads.
The Swedish Left Party is a socialist and feminist political party, founded in 1917 following a split from the Swedish Social Democratic Party.
The United States requires that new mothers are offered up to 12 weeks of family leave after child birth but it is not mandated to be paid leave.
Of the 38 countries represented in a 2013 Pew study, the United States is the only country to not offer mandatory paid leave for new parents, while Estonia, a smaller country in eastern Europe, offers almost two years of paid leave. Many of the countries featured in the study, such as France, Germany, Hungary and Finland, offered a median of 13 months of protective leave for new mothers.
In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave, and now 60 of those days are reserved for the father. Servies Radio reports that in 2012, nearly of quarter of Swedish fathers took their paternity leave. Parents receive 80% of their salary while on leave. Children are guaranteed a place in childcare from the age of 12 months for a very modest sum, making it possible for women to return to work.
This story was originally published on Common Dreams.