Family leave reform enters into force in August 2022
The number of parental leave days will increase and there will be more flexibility for parents to take leave. The reform aims to increase equality in working life and between parents and to take better account of different types of families. The new types of parental leave will mainly apply to families where the child’s estimated date of birth is 4 September 2022 or later.
The Government proposes that the bills for the acts concerning the family leave reform be approved by the President. Parliament adopted the reform on 8 December 2021.
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 parent, other custodian, their spouse or the spouse of the other parent.
New types of family leave
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 approximately 4.2 months) which starts before the child’s estimated date of birth, the father’s paternal allowance period (54 working days or approximately 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).
The Act on Early Childhood Education and Care will be amended so that the right to early childhood education and care will start in the month when the child turns nine months. A child’s right to the same early childhood education and care place will be maintained if the parental leave does not exceed 13 weeks. No client fees for early childhood education and care will be charged for this period.
In addition, the reform will introduce the right to take unpaid carers’ leave for up to five days per year, based on the Work-life Balance Directive.
The impact of the family leave reform will be monitored and assessed on a long-term basis, and the impact assessments will be published.
The Government submitted the relevant legislative package for approval on Thursday 13 January. The President of the Republic is to approve the bills for the acts on Friday. The acts will enter into force on 1 August 2022, which means that 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 2022. 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 2022.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health:
Hanna Hänninen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 508, [email protected]
Liisa Siika-aho, Director, tel. +358 295 163 085, firstname.lastname@ gov.fi
Eva Ojala, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295163201, firstname.lastname@ gov.fi
Tuulia Nieminen, Communications Specialist, tel. +358 295 163 635, firstname.lastname@ gov.fi
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: Seija Jalkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 048 952, [email protected]
Ministry of Education and Culture: Tarja Kahiluoto, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2953 30386, firstname.lastname@ gov.fi