The Associated Press reports that the female-led Finnish government has drawn up plans to give parents the same paid parental leave and encourage dads to spend more time with their children.
Finnish Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said that paid parental leave for men would be extended to almost seven months, as long as mothers. “This reform will significantly change attitudes, which will improve the equality between parents and make life easier for a diverse family,” Pekonen said in a statement.
Parents do not have to use parental leave at the same time, so a working-class family can maintain their income for 14 months, which is currently 11 and a half months. Parents can also transfer 69 days of their parental leave to each other.
In addition, pregnant women can take a month’s paid maternity leave before the due date, and single parents can use the parental leave allowance for both parents. This social reform is an important milestone for a left-center government led by Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Marin is the youngest woman prime minister in the world, only 34 years old.
The Finnish coalition government consists of five parties, each of which is led by women, four of whom are under 35, and 12 of the 19 cabinet officials are women. The Finnish coalition government prioritizes gender equality.
The reform is expected to be implemented as early as next year and is expected to cost 100 million euros.
“This reform will support a wide range of families and ensure that children enjoy equal care leave regardless of the type of family they live in,” said Peikonen.