LO demand: Fair parental leave
Sweden’s main trade union federation has thrown its support behind the idea to split parental leave into three different parts to encourage fathers to stay home with their children more than they do today, reports Swedish Radio news.
The Social Democrats have yet to back any change to Sweden’s generous parental leave system.
LO chairman Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson says by supporting the proposal now, he wanted to put pressure on the Social Democrats before the party’s congress next week.
“That’s why we are choosing to say this now before the congress, we who’ve been behind this have maybe been a bit too naïve,” Thorwaldsson says. “We thought it would be enough that the congress decided."
LO wants parental leave split so that women would get one-third, men one-third, and the last third could be used by either. The group Social Democratic Women in Sweden has been demanding the change for some time. They want the party congress to agree to make the change to parental leave if they win the next election.
Thorwaldsson says he knows it is a controversial question that would stir up a debate but he says it is time for the Social Democrats to "put their foot down” and do something that will help women in Sweden. “Women shouldn’t have to earn three million less than men during their career,” he says. “Women’s labor market must be more important and one of the reasons we have a problem is due to the unequal parental responsibility."
But the party leadership blocked similar proposals to encourage more men to take parental leave at the party congress in 2005 and before the 2010 election.
Party Secretaty Carin Jämtin says the party would take up the demand but that they do not want to set any timelines at the party congress.