Time for a third month of paternity leave

The government said on Thursday that it expects parliament to pass its proposal for a third paternity month, to be introduced in 2016.

The Left Party hopes for a further step towards individualised parental leave before the next election, reports news agency TT.

The government decided on Thursday to submit a proposal on a third paternity month. The social insurance minister, Annika Strandhäll (S) was pleased with the decision. She points out that it is 13 years since the second paternity month was introduced.

"Since we know perhaps that it is not enough to achieve equality with parental leave. We will need more steps on the road eventually," Strandhäl says to TT.

The government’s proposal is likely to pass in parliament, as it also has the support of the opposition Liberal Party, who have broken ranks with their fellow centre-right Alliance members. But the Left Party, which usually supports the red-green government, is still pushing for an even more equally divided system of parental leave.

The government would also like to eliminate the gender equality bonus, which it believes is ineffective. The bonus will be retained until further notice. If it would be taken away, the government risks losing the support of the Liberal Party for the third month of paternity leave, reports TT.

Minister Annika Strandhäll, of the Social Democrat Party, says to Swedish Radio News she thinks her proposal has the support of a majority of members of parliament. And she does not rule out earmarking even more parental leave for fathers, later in the government’s term in office.

Parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave (föräldraledighet). Of those, 60 days are reserved for fathers. If they do not take them, they cannot be transferred to the mother. In 2012, dads took nearly a quarter of all parental leave.