Sweden Is About To Give New Fathers A Third Month Of Paid Paternity Leave

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - APRIL 30:  Young girls wave Swedish flags during  the changing of the guard on H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - APRIL 30: Young girls wave Swedish flags during the changing of the guard on H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Swedens 60th birthday at the Stockholm Royal Palace on April 30, 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Sweden is a great place to be a dad, and the country is about to make things even better for soon-to-be fathers.

Beginning in 2016, men in the country will be entitled to a third (yes, third) month of paid paternal leave based on a new government proposal. The new plan builds on one of the world's most generous parental leave policies, with nearly 90 percent of Swedish fathers using the benefit.

Swedish parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted; 390 of those are paid at 80 percent of normal pay and, as of now, 60 of those are reserved exclusively for fathers. The days can be taken up until a child turns 8, and each new child garners new days of paid leave, so parents are able to accumulate days from several children.

If the days reserved for paternal leave aren't used, they're lost, encouraging both parents to stay home when a child is born. But parents are also legally entitled to cut their working hours by up to 25 percent until a child's eighth birthday.

Sadly, fathers and mothers in the United States aren't offered a package even remotely as generous.

Unless a company explicitly offers the benefit -- or a person lives in California, Rhode Island or New Jersey -- the United States doesn't have paid parental leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles full-time workers at companies with 50 or more employees to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, Bloomberg notes. But only half of workers in America are covered by the policy; freelancers, part-time employees, those at small businesses and others aren't provided with even that limited allotment.

Sweden first introduced paid paternity leave in 1995 to encourage more equal sharing of parental responsibilities, according to The Economist. Dads have been offered 60 days of leave since 2002.

The government also provides families with a small monthly allowance, about $125, for each child until they turn 16, and the distribution per child increases as parents have more children.



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