Finland Parade

New Year’s Day will signify more than just a new calendar year for fathers in Finland. As of January 1st 2013, dads there will receive 54 days (a whole 9 weeks!) of paid paternity leave. This will, no doubt, create a nation of involved, awesome new fathers.

An average of 73% of fathers are currently taking 18 days of paternity leave after the birth of their child. Leave in the form of a “daddy month” is only taken by 3% of new dads. According to Kela, Finland’s Social Insurance Institution, the new “more flexible” timing is meant to encourage new dads to take time off with their babies.

Here are some of the main changes to the paternity leave law:

  • Fathers can take up to 54 days paternity leave, and it is not deducted from the parental allowance period.
  • The “daddy month” plan is discontinued.
  • The entire paternity leave can be taken after the parental allowance period (before 2013, fathers had to take between 1 and 18 working days during that period).
  • Paternity leave can be taken later; leave must still be taken, however, before the child is 2 years old. In the case of adoption, leave must be taken “before 2 years have passed since the child was placed with the adoptive parents.”
  • Fathers do not forfeit paternity leave for a second child after using it on the first. Previously, if a father used his “daddy month” on his first child, it was not available for a second child. Now, paternity leave it available for all children in a family.
  • Application period extended: “Applications for the allowance must be submitted no later than 2 months after the child reaches the age of 2 years or after 2 years have passed since the child was placed with the adoptive family.”
  • Children are now allowed to go to daycare between birth and the paternity leave period. Previously, if a child had attended daycare, a father was not able to delay his paternity leave.
  • Dual allowances allowed: “Parents can receive both child home care allowance and paternity allowance at the same time, with stipulations. Parents can also receive basic child home care allowance if it is higher than the amount of the paternity allowance, again with stipulations.

Fins can calculate their parental allowance with an online form (we think).

Finnish dads whose babies squirted out in late 2012 and started receiving benefits? You’re out of luck. “If payment of the allowance began in 2012, the paternity allowance is paid in accordance with the previous legislation during the paternity leave and the daddy month,” says Kela’s press release.