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Family Policy

Swedish "Daddy Leave" Threatened in EU

Published tisdag 10 mars 2009 kl 14.33

Swedish fathers could be worse off if EU Employment ministers pass a new proposal on parental leave. However, after the initial discussions on Monday many objections have been raised.

The EU Commission wants mothers to be able to be home with their children for at least 18 weeks. The leave can be taken out before or after the birth, but there is a condition- six weeks must be taken out by the mother after the baby is born.

“They seem to have forgotten the existence of fathers,” said minister for Employment, Sven Otto Littorin to Swedish news agency TT.

The aim is to improve the situation for European mothers who combine having children and a career. In many of the EU countries the current parental leave is far shorter than the proposed 18 weeks. The proposal also suggests rules against employers transferring or dismissing mothers when they return to work.

Compared to Sweden’s rules, the proposal would mean four weeks longer leave for mothers but less for fathers. 

However, Sven Otto Littorin told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that as the aim is to improve circumstances for some, a proposal making it worse for others at the same time will not easily be accepted. 

“This is a powerful argument against the directive in its current form, “Littorin said to DN.  

A decision may seem far away at the moment but Sweden will have to count on spurring the question along during its presidency this autumn, according to TT.

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