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Finland to offer dads the same amount of parental leave as mums

Finland has announced new plans to improve parental leave for new mums and dads [Photo: Getty]

Finland is switching up its parental leave to allow mums and dads to take the same amount of time off.

In a push to get fathers to spend more time with their children, the government plans to increase paid allowance to a combined 14 months, which will allow 164 days per parent.

The new policy, which will will not come into effect until Autumn 2021 at the earliest, is a step up from current rules.  

Finland currently allows around four months for maternity leave, and approximately two months for fathers.

Additionally another six months’ parental leave can be shared.

Under the new guidelines each parent would receive 6.6 months' leave (164 days under Finland's six-day-week benefit system) and pregnant women would get an additional month's allowance.

Parents would also be allowed to transfer 69 days of their quota and single parents would be allowed to use both allowances.

READ MORE: Canada could soon offer dads five weeks of paternity leave - should the UK do the same?

The new policy doesn't just give both parents more family time, it has also been designed to “promote wellbeing and gender equality.”

“The family leave reform is the Government’s investment in the future of children and the wellbeing of families,” Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, said in a statement.

“The reform will be a major change in attitudes, as it will improve equality between parents and make the lives of diverse families easier.

“Sharing parent responsibilities in everyday life will become easier, and the relationship between both parents and the child will be strengthened from the early childhood.”

READ MORE: Do maternity and paternity rights for same-sex parents differ from heterosexual parents?

The new plans will allow mums and dads to take the same amount of leave [Photo: Getty]

The policy, though generous, is not quite as substantial as neighbouring Sweden, though.

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world. Parents are given a total of 480 days to a couple, or 240 days each. And 420 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of your salary up to a capped limited of 910 SEK a day.

In the UK the government introduced the option of shared parental leave back in 2015, which allows new parents to split the leave they take from work to look after their baby.

The scheme was introduced to help new parents balance work and family life, but figures have revealed it is not being taking up by parents.

Recent statistics found that just 1% of eligible new parents took up the scheme in 2017/18.

Further research by Talking Talent Talking Talent with Censuswide found that half (51%) of respondents thought that fathers who took shared parental leave would experience a detrimental effect on their careers.

It isn’t the first time the subject of paternity leave has made headlines. Back in 2018 Canada touted the idea of introducing five weeks of paid paternity leave for new dads.

The move forms part of a wider attempt to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and encourage new mums back into work.

The idea is that the extended paternity leave could offer new parents a greater incentive to share child-raising responsibilities so that mothers can more easily return to the workforce.