Gov't to scrap parental leave bonus

The government wants to abolish the gender-equality bonus, which tries to encourage men and women to take equal amounts of parental leave, Swedish Radio News reports.

The bonus is currently handed out automatically for each day of parental leave that the parent who has taken the least number of days off to spend with his or her newborn child takes. It could bring in a maximum of SEK 13,500 for a couple.

But according to Social Insurance Minister Annika Strandhäll, the bonus has been ineffective.

So the government wants to ear-mark a third month of parental leave for fathers to make childcare responsibilities more equal. Today, parents in Sweden get 480 days parental leave, and two months are set aside for fathers, while the rest can be divided equally.

Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund, whose party is also in favour of ear-marking a third month, does not believe that scrapping the bonus would benefit parents.

"I believe that the bonus works. I think it should be even higher than it is today and easier to use," Björklund tells Swedish Radio News.