Sweden Looks to Extend Paternity Leave

Swedish officials debate adding another month to already generous time off for new dads.


Sweden is standing by its men—specifically, fathers. The country with the most generous family leave legislation is debating whether dads need more time off to be with their babies, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets report.

Swedish lawmakers are weighing extending the current two-month paternity leave policy to three months, according to the Wall Street Journal article. "Fathers currently can take off work for as long as 240 days with a government-backed paycheck. Even if a father decides to take a more modest leave than allowed, he must take at least two months before the child is 8 years old to receive the government benefit," the Wall Street Journal report says.

The family leave policy for men and women, which started in 1974, means the "Swedish government will pay 80 percent of a parent's salary—up to a cap of about $65,000—for 13 months. One parent can sign over all but two of these months to the other," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., we face a different situation when it comes to nationwide paid family leave: We don't have any. What the U.S. does offer is 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a new baby (or seriously ill family member), according to the U.S. Department of Labor website. Unfortunately, this policy excludes some part-time workers, those who have been with a company for less than one year, and companies with fewer than 50 employees, the Department of Labor says. (The Wall Street Journal has a rundown of family leave policies in other countries.)

According to a recent report from the group Human Rights Watch, "at least 178 countries have national laws guaranteeing paid leave for new mothers, while the handful of exceptions include the U.S., Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. More than 50 nations, including most Western countries, also guarantee paid leave for new fathers," according to a Huffington Post report.

The lack of paid family leave mixed with the current economic state are prompting more and more U.S. women to work through their maternity leave or shorten their time off. (And, no, not in the same way as the pregnant Yahoo CEO is planning to do.) Crib Notes previously reported on news that found more new moms were rethinking their maternity leave and coming back to work earlier because of fears of losing their jobs.