Parental leave to become longer, flexible from August

14 Jan 2022, 01:24

  DF Report

File Photo: Visit Finland by Mikko Huotari.

The government on Thursday submitted a legislative package for approval with the view to increase the duration of parental leave with more flexibility for the parents.

The President is scheduled to approve the bills for the acts on Friday and the acts will enter into force on 1 August, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment,  Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a joint press release.

Earlier, the parliament adopted the reform on 8 December, 2021.

The new family leaves will apply to families where the child’s estimated date of birth is 4 September 2022 or later.

Regardless of the estimated date of birth, the current provisions will apply if the child is born before 1 August.

As for adopted children, the new provisions will apply if the adopted parents start to take care of the child on or after 31 July.

The reform will, for the first time, give both parents an equal quota of parental leave. Parents may take leave over several periods until their child reaches the age of two, and they can transfer some of their own leave days to the other parents, other custodian, their spouse or the spouse of the other parents.

The family leave reform will give both parents a quota of 160 parental allowance days. Parents will be allowed to transfer up to 63 parental allowance days of this quota to the other parent, other custodian, their spouse or the spouse of the other parent.

For the final stage of pregnancy, there will be a pregnancy allowance period of 40 daily allowance days. There will be six daily allowance days per week.

All in all, allowance days for parents during family leaves will amount to more than 14 months.

Single parents will have the right to use the quotas of both parents. Twins, triplets and other multiple-birth children will form an exception to this model — the quota of parental allowance days for their parents will increase by 84 daily allowance days per second child and every child thereafter.

Parents can use parental allowance days until the child reaches the age of two. Daily allowance days can be used in several parts. Parents in employment relationships will be entitled to split the leave up to four parts.

Only pregnancy allowance days will have to be used in a single continuous period and started 14–30 days before the estimated date of birth.

Parents may also take part-time parental leave. In such cases, one partial parental allowance day will take up half a day of the quota. The amount of partial parental allowance is also half the amount of full parental allowance.

All parents who have custody of their child will have an equal right to daily allowance regardless of whether they are biological or adoptive, custodial or non-custodial and regardless of the gender of the parent.

The duration and time of leaves laid down in the Employment Contracts Act will be changed in a similar manner.

At present, family leaves consist of the mother’s maternal allowance period (105 working days or about 4.2 months) which starts before the child’s estimated date of birth, the father’s paternal allowance period (54 working days or bout 9 weeks) and the parental allowance period which may be taken by one of the parents or shared between the parents (158 working days or approximately 6.3 months).