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Image courtesy of Krzysztof Blachnicki




Family Leave Policy


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Family Leave Policies

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Finland boasts a very generous parental leave policy.  The combined maternity and parental leave results in about 280 weekdays. Finland also has paternity leave which the government has been trying to make more appealing to new fathers.  Maternity leave lasts for 105 weekdays and for the first 56 days the mother retains about 90% of her salary.  After this period, the mother gets about two-thirds of her pay.  Nearly all mothers takeMom and babies maternity leave.  About 70% of Finnish fathers take paternity leave which lasts for 18 weekdays.  Fathers do not get the initial period where they retain 90% of their salaries.  Instead, they receive about 70% of their salaries.  In addition to maternity and paternity leave, Finland also offers parental leave.                                  

Image courtesy of Erik R. Bishoff
Parental Leave

Image courtesy of Dabe Murphy
Father and sonParental leave is 158 weekdays that can be used by the mother or the father for each child.  During this time period parents retain about 70% of their earnings .  Parents are able to take this leave in two shifts but the minimum amount of leave parents can take is twelve days.  Some employers allow parents to take part time parental leave, but parents can only do this if they both take it.  Parental leave is mainly taken by mothers and only 2% to 3% of fathers take advantage of it.  Because of this low percentage of fathers, the Finnish government has instituted “father’s month” in which the father receives 12 additional days of leave if he also take the last two weeks of parental leave.

PolicyLengthSalary RetentionPercent That Take Leave
Maternity Leave105 DaysAbout 70%Almost All
Paternity Leave18 Days (plus 12 if father takes last 2 weeks of Parental Leave)About 70%70%
Parental Leave158 DaysAbout 70%Almost All Mothers
2-3% of Fathers

  • Gornick, Janet C. and Marcia K. Meyers. 2003. Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Oinonen, Eriikka. 2004. "Starting the First Family: Changes in Patterns of Family Formation and Demographic Trends in Finland and Spain." European Societies 6(3):319-346.
  • Salmi, Minna, Johanna Lammi-Taskula and Pentti Takala. 2008. International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research 2008: Finland. Budapest: Institute for Social Policy and Labour.

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