Swedish dads take more paternity leave

A new analysis shows the extension of Sweden’s reserved paternity leave policy has enabled more men to take at least three months off.


Equal parental leave

Forty per cent of Swedish dads have taken at least three months paternity leave after the extension of leave reserved for each parent, according to new analysis by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Sweden allows parents paid leave of 480 days per child. Ninety of these are reserved for each parent and the rest can be shared as the parents choose. The policy on reserved leave was launched in 1995 with one month of leave. That was extended to two months in 2002 and to three in 2016.

The analysis shows dads with a medium level of education are more likely to take the leave while dads with a lower level of education have not been affected to the same extent.

“The reserved months have increased father’s allowance for parental benefit. But much else influences parents’ withdrawals, among other things, norms and expectations of parents’ roles look different in different groups and may have significance for the parents’ decision. For us, it is important to work to ensure that all parents have a good knowledge of parental insurance and what opportunities and consequences it provides, ”says Alexandra Wallin, head of the Child and Family department at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

The main findings of the report show:

  • The reserved months have contributed to a more equitable take-up of parental leave.
  • 40 percent of the fathers of children born in 2016 have taken out at least 90 days of parental benefit by the time their child reaches the age of two.
  • The third reserved month increased take-up mainly among men with an upper secondary education [sixth form and above].

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