Daily cash benefits at childbirth and parental leave
The amount paid depends on both previous income and the length of the leave. Employees are entitled to full pay under collective bargaining agreements.
Mothers are entitled to compensation for any loss of income if they are forced to stop working early in their pregnancy due to work-related activities that could be detrimental to the foetus, or in the event of a difficult pregnancy. The rules governing such circumstances vary from one country to another – in some countries, parental benefits are payable, whereas sickness benefits or a special benefit are payable in others.
Specific national prerequisites for receiving parental benefits
It is a prerequisite for receiving parental benefit that the individual concerned meets the employment requirement, i.e. they must either have worked for 120 hours within the last 13 weeks, be entitled to daily cash benefits, have concluded a vocational qualification course of at least 18 months within the past month, or be a paid apprentice.
It is a prerequisite for receiving parental benefit that the individual concerned is affiliated with the labour market, i.e. is employed or self-employed, or draws unemployment benefit. Other people are entitled to social assistance.
It is a prerequisite for receiving parental benefit that the individual concerned has worked for at least six months immediately prior to the first day of the benefit period and on average in more than 25 per cent of a full employment position. Other people are entitled to a state grant.
It is a prerequisite for receiving parental benefit that the individual concerned has worked for at least six of the ten months immediately prior to the first day of the benefit period. In this context, periods of receipt of some benefits, such as sickness and unemployment, as well as previous parental benefit periods, are considered equivalent to being employed.
The parental grant is a non-recurring payment that is mainly payable to mothers. To receive it, individuals must be resident in Norway.
In the other Nordic countries, people who are not affiliated with the labour market also qualify for a benefit.
There are a few prerequisites for receiving parental benefits. The individual concerned must earn, or expects to earn, at least 11 350 SEK per mounts. Have worked for at least six consecutive months or have periods of recurring work every year. The individual needs to be insured in Sweden.
In Finland only a small amount is awarded.
An increasing number of men are making use of daily cash benefit schemes at childbirth and adoption. However, both the number of recipients and the number of days on which parental benefits are payable vary considerably between the countries. This reflects differences between the schemes’ coverage, as well as the length of the period in which individuals are entitled to the benefit.
Rules for parental leave in Nordic countries
Fathers are entitled to two weeks leave with daily cash benefits from the date of the birth or adoption of the child. However, they may enter into an agreement with their employer to postpone the two weeks to a later date within the first 14 weeks after the birth. Parental leave lasts one year and is very flexible. Parents may, for example, divide the last 32 weeks between them and take turns being on leave, or they may take their leave one after the other or concurrently.
The 32 weeks may be extended by eight or 14 weeks, but the total amount of daily cash benefit will remain the same. Parents may also postpone parts of the leave period if they use them before the child turns nine.
Fathers are entitled to daily cash benefits, at the same time as mothers draw maternity benefits, for a number of weeks after childbirth.
Parental leave is a maximum of 54 working days, i.e. about nine weeks. Fathers may go on leave for 1–18 days (about three weeks) at the same time as mothers draw parental benefits.
The rest may be used after the parental benefit period. Parental leave must be taken before the child turns two. Either the mother or the father can take parental leave.
Fathers and mothers each get 20 weeks of parental leave. Another 12 weeks may be divided freely between them. The parental leave can be taken until the child is 30 months. The law on parental leave was introduced in 2001 and amended in 2003 to grant fathers the same independent entitlement to 13 weeks’ parental leave as mothers. It was emerged again in 2020 and 2021.
The statistics reflect this change, as it led to a substantial increase in the number of men drawing paternity benefits but in most cases it is the mother that takes the part of the parental leave that can be freely divided between the parents
Fathers are entitled to two weeks of unpaid leave at childbirth. However, in the public sector and in large parts of the private sector, collective bargaining agreements are in place that grant compensation for those two weeks.
The parental benefit period is 49 weeks at 100 per cent or 59 weeks at 80 per cent. The benefit may be drawn from 12 weeks before confinement at the earliest, and three weeks of benefit must be taken by the mother before confinement. Ten weeks are reserved for the father (father’s quota) and ten weeks for the mother (mother’s quota). The first six weeks after confinement are included in the mother’s quota. The rest of the period is divided according to the parents’ wishes.
Apart from the three weeks immediately prior to confinement and the six weeks afterwards, which are included in the mother’s quota, the benefit can be taken out by the father.
Fathers are entitled to daily cash benefits, at the same time as mothers draw maternity benefits, for two weeks after childbirth. Since 2012, both parents are also entitled to parental benefits at the same time for 30 days before the child is one year old.
Generally speaking, the period during which daily cash benefits are payable at birth and adoption is relatively long in the Nordic countries. However, the period of parental leave in Sweden is significantly longer than that of the other countries, with 480 days of parental benefits per child. If parents share the responsibility for looking after the child equally, each is entitled to half of those days.