Fathers in Iceland are less likely to take paternity leave and if they do, they take shorter paternity leave now than before the banking collapse in 2008, according to data from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund in Iceland.
Around 16 percent of fathers whose children were born in 2008 chose not to use their right to paternity leave within the three years they are eligible to take paid time off work to be with their children. In 2009, the percentage was close to 25 percent of fathers and in 2012 around 33 percent.
However, the right to take leave does not expire until after three years so the numbers for last year are expected to change somewhat, visir.is reports.
The trend is considered to be linked to the decrease in recent years of the maximum payment per month of their monthly salary parents receive while on parental leave.
In 2008, the maximum amount was set at ISK 535,000 (USD 4,460, EUR 3,220). In January 2009, following the banking collapse, the government decided to lower the maximum amount to ISK 400,000 and half a year later it was lowered to ISK 350,000.
In January 2010, the maximum amount dropped to ISK 300,000 per month, almost half of what it was before the cutbacks began.
The government of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, which was in power from February 2009 until April this year, began to increase payments again, raising the maximum to ISK 350,000. The plan was to raise it further to ISK 450,000 over the next two years.
Jóhanna’s government also planned to increase the shared parental leave from nine to 12 months by 2016.
The current government, led by Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has decided not to increase the leave but rather to increase the maximum payment per month. According to the budget bill presented at the beginning of this month, the maximum payment will be ISK 370,000 to parents of children born as of January 1, 2014.