Paternity allowance

The paternity leave can last up to 54 working days or about 9 weeks. Fathers can choose to stay at home for 1 to 18 days at the same time as the child's mother while she is paid maternity or parental allowance. The rest of the leave can be taken after the parental allowance has ended.

In addition to the paternity leave, fathers can have the following family leaves after the birth of their child:

  • parental leave after the mother has been on maternity leave. This parental leave can also be shared with the mother.
  • child care leave following the parental leave.
  • partial child care leave if they return to work on a part-time basis.

Timing of the paternity leave

You can go on paternity leave when your child is born. Fathers can, if they wish, use all of their paternity allowance entitlement after the maternity and parental allowance period. You must take paternity leave before your child reaches the age of two or before two years have passed since the child was adopted.

You can take the leave all at one time or break it up into shorter periods. The 1 to 18 days that may be taken at the same time as the child's mother can be broken up into as many as 4 periods. The paternity leave entitlement following the payment of the parental allowance can be divided into 2 periods. If, for example, the father after the parental allowance period claims paternity allowance from Monday to Friday one week and from Monday to Friday again the following week, he will have used up both of the 2 allowed periods, although he will not have used up the maximum number of days available. None of the paternity leave entitlement can be transferred to the mother.

If you take paternity leave after the parental allowance period has ended your child can attend day care before the paternity leave.  Tell the day care provider that your child will stay home during the paternity leave at least two weeks before the leave is set to begin. Your decision to take paternity leave does not mean that you have to give up your child's place in day care. However, your child cannot attend day care during the paternity leave. Other children in your family can attend day care while you are on paternity leave.

You should note that any paternity allowance you are paid after the parental allowance period will affect the child care allowance. Find out how the paternity leave affects the child home care allowance and the private day care allowance.

Paternity allowance during the paternity leave

During the paternity leave, Kela pays you a paternity allowance. Find out if your employer will pay you a salary during the paternity leave. You will need this information when claiming paternity allowance. Notify your employer at least 2 months before taking a paternity leave. If you will be taking 12 or fewer working days off, the pre-notification period is just one month.You can claim paternity allowance also if you are, for example, self-employed, unemployed or a student.   

Do not claim paternity allowance until the child has been born and you know when you wish to take a paternity leave. Claim the allowance for a single contiguous period or for several shorter periods if you wish to divide it. Paternity allowance is paid for all days of the week except for Sundays and holidays that fall on a weekday. You can choose the days for which to claim paternity allowance. For example, you can choose to receive paternity allowance for Saturdays or choose not to receive it.

It is worth noting, however, that if your employer pays you a salary during the paternity leave, the paternity allowance will be paid to your employer. If the paternity leave includes paid days off, the allowance will be paid to the employer for those days as well. For example, if a paid paternity leave spans a weekend and Saturday is a paid day off, the paternity allowance will be paid to the employer also for the Saturday, in which case the Saturday will count against the father's paternity allowance entitlement.

Entitlement to the paternity allowance

You are entitled to a paternity allowance if you are married to or living together with the child's mother and you take part in the child care responsibilities. You can get paternity allowance even if you temporarily live at different addresses if the separation is due, for example, to work arrangements and not to a breakup of your relationship.

A father who is responsible for the care of a child but is not married to or cohabiting with the child’s mother, is entitled to a paternity allowance if he assumed the care of the child on or after 1 March 2017. You need not be living with the child, but must be a caregiver for him or her during your paternity leave.

Paternity allowance can be paid also to adoptive fathers. Learn more about the paternity allowance for LGBT parents.

Welcoming a new child into your family

The paternity leave is a child-specific entitlement. If a child is born to you or you adopt a child, and you have paternity allowance entitlement left over from a previous birth or adoption, you can use up to 24 of those days consecutively while the child's mother is on maternity or parental leave for the latest birth or adoption. You must take paternity leave before your child reaches the age of two or before two years have passed since the child was adopted. As far as your paternity allowance entitlement based on the latest birth or adoption is concerned, you can take up to 18 days with the child's mother. In total, fathers may take up to to 42 days of paternity allowance while the child's mother receives maternity or parental allowance. Paternity allowance is payable for only one child at a time.

Study and work during the paternity leave

In order to qualify for a paternity allowance, you may not work or study on a full-time basis during the paternity leave. Working on Sundays and other holidays is allowed because paternity allowance is only payable for working days.

Working refers to all kinds of gainful activity, including telecommuting from home or being on call or standby. Further, it includes working in a company owned personally or by a family member, agricultural and forestry work, independent scientific work, and holding an office of public trust which is related to one's principal employment or comes with monetary compensation. Being an informal or family caregiver is also considered as a gainful activity.

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