Finding the Right Balance in Finland

10th February 2020

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Reform is underway in Finland which aims to improve the wellbeing of families, increase gender equality and boost the country’s declining birth rate.

The government formed a tripartite working group in Autumn 2019 and an impact assessment of changes is underway with likely reform taking place in the latter end of next year at the earliest.

As a result of this reform, the total amount of families’ daily allowance days in Finland would increase from the current 11.5 months to more than 14 months.

Both parents would receive an equal quota of 164 daily allowance days (i.e. approximately 6.6 months) and parents could also transfer 69 days from their own quota to the other parent.

A pregnant parent would have a separate daily allowance period of approximately one month before the parental allowance period starts. This allowance has been initially called pregnancy allowance.

A single parent would have access to the daily allowance quotas for both parents.

Increasing the number of daily allowance days will increase the costs of the daily allowance scheme by an estimated €100 million.

According to Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (pictured): “The family leave reform is the Government’s investment in the future of children and the wellbeing of families. The reform will be a major change in attitudes, as it will improve equality between parents and make the lives of diverse families easier. The reform will support all kinds of families and ensure equal leaves for children regardless of the form of the family. Sharing parent responsibilities in everyday life will become easier, and the relationship between both parents and the child will be strengthened from early childhood. The livelihood of families with small children will also improve”.

The Minister went on to say that: ‘The daily allowance reform alone will not solve the everyday challenges faced by families with small children. Above all, a change towards family-friendliness is needed in workplace attitudes, in society as a whole and within families. I therefore invite employers to join us in this change and to look for means by which it is genuinely possible to combine working life and family.”