The Finnish parliament recently adopted a bill introducing a government-paid pregnancy leave and an unpaid carer’s leave, as well as equalizing family leave entitlements between both parents, including same-sex couples and adoptive parents.

The family leave reform is expected to enter into effect on 1 August 2022, and apply to births from 4 September 2022 and placements for adoption on or after 31 July 2022.

Background

The family leave reform aims at creating a better work-life balance for working parents and improving gender equality by enabling more balance in the use of family leave.

The new parental leave model is intended to meet the 2019 European Union (EU) Work-life Balance Directive requirement to provide, among other things, a minimum of nine weeks of parental leave for each parent. All EU member states are required to transpose the Directive into their national legislation by 2 August 2022.

Key details

Currently, family leave entitlements are as follows:

  • 105 days of government-paid maternity leave (105 daily allowance days with six daily allowances per week)
  • 54 days of government-paid paternity leave (54 daily allowance days with six daily allowances per week)
  • 158 days of government-paid parental leave that may be shared between the parents or taken in full by either one of them (158 daily allowance days with six daily allowances per week)

The new bill, which goes beyond the EU Directive minimum requirements, provides an equal quota of parental leave for each parent. Effective 1 August 2022, each parent will be entitled to 160 days of government-paid parental leave per child (160 daily allowance days with six daily allowances per week).

Parental leave may be taken in up to four different periods until the child reaches age 2 (instead of the two periods currently allotted). Parental leave may be taken part-time or full-time. Each parent will be able to transfer up to 63 days of their 160 parental leave day quota to the other parent, custodian, spouse or the spouse of the other parent. 

Single working parents will be entitled to use 320 days of parental leave which is the combined quota for both parents. Parents of multiple births will have the right to an additional 84 days for every additional child.

Paid pregnancy leave

Pregnant women will be entitled to 40 days of pregnancy leave (40 daily allowance days with six allowance days per week) before the estimated date of birth. The pregnancy leave may be taken 14 to 30 days before the estimated date of birth and must be taken in one continuous period. Birth mothers are not allowed to work for a period of 14 weeks from the beginning of the pregnancy leave. If birth mothers must work during their pregnancy leave, an exception to the 14-week work restriction is permitted. In that case, birth mothers will be permitted to work for 10 weeks, and the work restriction will apply to the remaining four weeks prior to or after childbirth.

Carer’s leave

Employees will also be entitled to five days per year of unpaid carer’s leave.