In Finland, working fathers and mothers will receive the same number of days off after the birth of a child. Both parents can take a total of 164 days of paid leave. Other countries, however, are even more generous in providing parental leave.
Yesterday, the Finnish government announced plans to align the paid leave days for fathers and mothers. Together, parents now receive 14 months of leave or 164 days per parent. In the current system, Finnish mums receive 4.2 months of vacation and dad’s 2.2 months until the child is two years old. In addition, six months of parental leave can be allocated to the parents. However, only a quarter of fathers make use of it.
Parents now receive 6.6 months of leave each year. With this, Finland tries to encourage fathers to spend more time with their children. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin also hopes that the new plan helps to create more gender equality. Besides, the country is trying to increase the birth rate: between 2010 and 2018, it fell by a fifth.
Sweden goes one step further in the field of parental leave. After birth, parents each have two weeks of paid leave. After that, they receive no less than 480 days of vacation, a minimum of three months of which are meant for the father. If he does not answer those days, they expire. Swedish parents keep 80 percent of their salary for a year.
In Belgium, dads are entitled to ten days’ leave at birth, and mothers can stay at home for fifteen weeks. Together they are entitled to another four months of parental leave until the child is twelve years old.
South Korea is the absolute leader in parental leave. New dads and mums can each receive no less than 52.6 weeks of paid parental leave. Those who go on parental leave will receive at least 40 percent of the previous wage, with a maximum of $800 per month. The parental leave can be taken until the child is eight years old or in the second grade of primary education. The parental leave can also be taken part-time if you still work between 15 and 30 hours.
In order to encourage men to take this leave, the Korean government adds another ‘daddy month’ bonus: if the year of the first parent is finished (usually the mother) and the second parent takes over, that person gets three paid 100 percent of the wage for months (with a maximum of $1,200 per month).
With the generous parental leave scheme, South Korea wants to encourage fathers to spend more time raising their children. The system is gradually starting to bear fruit: in 2007, barely 1.2 percent of fathers freed up for their children, in 2016, that number had risen to 5.6 percent.
Japan gives only a fraction less parental leave than South Korea: Japanese fathers and mothers receive 52 weeks of paid leave to be taken before the child turns one. If the parents both take leave, this period is extended by two months. Parents receive about two-thirds of their previous salary during their leave. The work insurance covers the costs for this unless the employer chooses to contribute.
Japanese law has another perk: if the company for which the parents work does not want to contribute, they do not have to pay capital taxes or contributions for work and social insurance during the leave.
With the long leave, the Japanese government hopes to make the care of the children a matter for the man. Upbringing is traditionally seen as the duty of women: she is the one who is supposed to stop working when children are born. Many working ladies decide not to get married, and that has caused the birth rate to plummet.
Although the Japanese leave arrangement is exceptionally generous, fathers dare not use it in practice, reports The Japan Times. In 2016, only 3 percent of Japanese fathers took leave. How is that possible? They don’t dare, according to research from the University of Kyushu. More than 70 percent of the respondents say that the leave for fathers is a good thing. More than half, however, also thought that other men were thinking negatively about paternity leave.
The Japanese government wants to increase the percentage of fathers taking leave this year to 13 percent in 2020. But that would be a big hit, two years ago there was still 6 percent. The Japanese environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi already set a good example. He became a father for the first time and announced to take two weeks off, The Japan Times reported. Something that does not often happen in traditional Japanese politics. Not everyone responded positively: It would look too much like a publicity stunt.
Not only do parents get more leave at the other end of the world, in Germany, new parents also get 12 months of paid parental leave together. If both parents use the scheme, this period is extended to 14 months. The state pays two-thirds of the previous wage for a year, with a minimum of 300 and a maximum of 1,800 euros. You also receive a parental benefit if you had no work before the birth of your child.