Sofia Larsen, Center Party

"Extend Parental Leave to Age 16"

A faction within Sweden’s Center Party wants people to have the possibility to go on parental leave until a child turns sixteen instead of the current limit of eight years old. Sofia Larsen, chairwoman of the governmental education commission, hopes the reform will be adopted by the center-right ruling alliance as an issue in the coming election.

“For example if one’s child has a pretty rough teenage period, then I could be there as a parent and support my child,” Larsen told Swedish Radio News on Sunday. “But I also have to know that I have the money and possibility [to do so], despite my job.”

Current legislation gives parents the right to stay home from work with a child a total of 480 days. During the first 390 days, the parent receives 80 percent of their usual wages—up to 26,525 kronor per month—and 60 kronor per day for the remaining 90 days.

After the child turns eight, however, a parent can no longer take advantage of such paid leave, and can only receive temporary compensation when a child is sick.

The Center Party’s suggested reform wouldn’t cost the government any money, as it would simply extend the time period when a parent can go on leave, not grant any extra days.

Larsen thinks the reform is a question of both justice and equality.

"Everyone doesn't have the economic resources to take time off and keep up with his or her child," she said. "Whether you are a single parent or have a job that isn't flexible, you should be able to use your parental leave days to keep up with your child."

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