Family leave reform 2022

The upcoming family leave reform will also affect the benefits available from Kela. The reform enters into force in 1st August, 2022. First applications for the new type of parental allowances introduced in the family leave reform will go live on 1 May 2022.

”Parental allowances after reform. Parents have a total parental allowance entitlement of 320 working days. The pregnant parent is entitled to an additional 40 days of pregnancy allowance. The days are divided equally between the parents, i.e. they will both be entitled to 160 working days. Parents can give up as many as 63 days of their entitlement to the other parent or some other person who provides care for the child.”

The reform seeks to recognise equally all kinds of situations, including those involving diverse families and various forms of entrepreneurship and self-employment.

The goals of the reform are:

  • to allocate family leave entitlements and care responsibilities equally between the parents
  • to strengthen non-discrimination and equality in working life
  • to reduce the gender wage gap.

The new family leave model will provide families much more opportunity, flexibility and freedom of choice than the current system in terms of their family leave decisions.

Possibility to share the parental allowance entitlement equally between the parents

Parents have a total parental allowance entitlement of 320 working days. If a child has two parents, the days are divided equally between the parents, i.e. they will both be entitled to 160 working days. The pregnant parent is entitled to an additional 40 days of pregnancy allowance before the payment of the parental allowance is set to begin. Parents can agree to give up as many as 63 days of their entitlement to the other parent or some other person who provides care for the child. 

Who does the new law apply to?

The new family leave provisions apply to parents expecting a baby whose due date is 4 September 2022 or later.

If the due date is 4 September 2022, the parents will receive parental allowances starting from 1 August 2022, when the new law will enter into force.

If the parents have started to receive parental allowances from an earlier date, the allowance cannot on 1 August 2022 be changed to comply with the new law.

Under the new law, parents adopting a child can take family leave if the child is placed in their care on or after 31 July 2022. In such a case, parental allowance will be paid starting from 1 August 2022.

Learn more about the new allowances for parents.

Preparations of the reform 

During 2021, work preparing the family leave reform proceeded as follows:

  • In February, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health circulated the Government’s draft proposal among the key parties, whose comments were given by the beginning of April.
  • After that, the Ministry put out a summary of the received comments.
  • The Government decided on the final proposal and submitted it to Parliament in the autumn.
  • Parliament passed the laws 8th December, 2021.

The reform enters into force in 1st August, 2022. Read more on the new parental allowances.

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