The Swedish Parliament is about to vote in favour of a proposal pushed forward by the Left Party to extend paternal leave entitlement to three months. For the past thirteen years, Swedish fathers have been entitled to two months of paternity leave.
The Left Party’s proposal reflects its effort to individualise parental leave and offer more equal opportunities for paid time off for new parents. In Sweden, new parents are entitled to 480 days of paid leave, 60 of which are specifically reserved for the fathers. As reported by Sveriges radio in 2012, nearly a quarter of Swedish fathers opted to benefit from paternal leave entitlement.
Pew Research Centre published a study in 2013 related to parental leave entitlements across various countries. Estonia stood out for offering almost two years of paid leave for new parents. Other European countries such as Finland, France, Germany and Hungary offered a median of 13 months of protective leave for new mothers.
Presently, new mothers are entitled to 18 weeks of fully paid maternity leave in Malta. The fathers are entitled to one full day of paid leave, also known as birth leave, on the day of birth of the child. Whilst no specific paternal leave entitlement in Malta is in effect, both parents are entitled to 4 months unpaid leave, to be taken in full periods of one months each, up to the time when the child turns eight.
The proposal of the Left Party in Sweden was positively received, particularly on social media platforms.