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The government in Finland is trying to address gender inequality. So they’ve done the sensible thing and introduced equal parental leave.
Seven months statutory paternity leave sounds like a dream.
But that’s what working dads are going to get in Finland under new plans there.
The new administration is going to equalise maternity and paternity leave. That’ll mean the allowance for dads doubling to seven months. And under Finnish shared parental leave rules each partner can transfer around half their leave to the other one. Potentially a new dad could have 10 months off with his new baby.
Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said the aim of the “radical reform” was both to improve gender equality and to boost a declining birth rate. “This enables better equality between parents and diversity among families,” she said.
She also explained how equal parental leave and sharing domestic work brings benefits to the economy and society as a whole. “Over a longer term, it also improves equality in working life and in wages by directing fathers to use a larger proportion of parental leaves than before,” she said.
Finland is only one of many European countries facing an ageing population. So other nations with the same dilemma, including the UK, will be watching closely to see if the equal parental leave policy is a success. The Tory administration in Westminster is already considering the responses to a consultation the government ran last year asking for people’s views on increasing paternity leave.
Experts reckon the Finnish scheme will cost around £80million to implement. But by encouraging women back to the workplace sooner it may well recoup some if not all of that cost. It could also be expected to improve happiness and productivity among fathers.
Finland’s current Prime Minister is 34-year-old working parent Sanna Marin. She told other world leaders last month that gender equality ‘doesn’t happen by itself’. She urged other nations to do more to tackle gender inequality. She’s also believed to favour introducing a four day week. That’s something working parents in our annual survey said they would welcome.