Sweden: Parental Leave Could Be Allocated to Third Parties, Swedish Committee Says

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By Marcus Hoy

June 9—A person other than a child's biological parents could qualify for paid parental leave, according to Swedish government report Full Salary, Full Time–Challenges for Gender Equality in the Workplace (SOU 2015: 50) released June 6.

The report concludes that a comprehensive modernization of the parental leave system is needed to combat the gender salary gap and reflect the fact that a growing number of employees do not live in traditional nuclear families. To this end, rules should be formulated to ensure that parental leave is not taken primarily by the mother and is distributed more evenly between both parents.

Currently, parents are allowed to share a total of 480 days of paid parental leave between them, though certain conditions apply. Under the new proposals, each parent would be allocated a total of 210 days, 150 of which would be nontransferrable. The remaining 60 days could be transferred to the other parent, and each parent could also transfer 30 of these 60 days to a third party. The right of both parents to reduce their working hours would be limited to a 12.5 percent decrease in their existing hours.

“We are proposing a trial period of five years,” Malin Wreder, secretary general of the Delegation for Gender Equality in Working Life and co-author of the report, told Bloomberg BNA. “Thereafter, we recommend a proper evaluation to see if and how the ability to transfer days to a person other than the other parent is used.”

The proposed reforms would require legislative changes, Wreder said.

The report will be sent out to interested parties for consultation before a decision is taken on whether a new law will be drafted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marcus Hoy in Copenhagen at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

The report is available in Swedish at http://jamstalldhetiarbetslivet.se/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SOU-2015_50-webb_total.pdf.

For more information on Swedish HR law and regulation, see the Sweden primer.