Iceland with Shortest Parental Leave in Nordic Countries Skip to content

Iceland with Shortest Parental Leave in Nordic Countries

Parental leave in Iceland is the shortest among the Nordic countries, reports. According to the Icelandic Center for Gender Equality, Iceland lagged behind the other Nordic countries in both drawing up a law on parental leave and in updating it.

baby_psPhoto: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

The first law on parental leave in Iceland came into fruition in 1946. The law stipulated that all women had the right to maternity benefits and single women who worked out of the home had the right to additional benefits for a period of three months.

Almost half a century earlier, Norway, Denmark and Sweden passed a law on parental leave, followed by Finland in 1917. In 1998, Iceland became the last of the Nordic countries to put into law the rights of fathers to parental leave.

Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, passed a law last winter which would have lengthened parental leave from nine months to 12 and increased the maximum monthly payment to ISK 350,000 (USD 2,870, EUR 2,130). However, according to the new government’s budget bill, parental leave will not be extended but rather the maximum payment per month will be increased to ISK 370,000 to parents of children born as of January 1, 2014.

In Denmark, women can take four weeks off before the birth and 14 weeks afterwards while men can take two weeks during the first 14 weeks after the birth of their child. In addition, parents can divide 32 weeks between them during the first nine years of the child. In Sweden, parents have a total of 480 days with a minimum of 60 days for each parent. Parents can use the leave until their child turns eight.

In Norway, parental leave totals 47 weeks with a minimum of 14 weeks for the father while in Finland, women are entitled to four months leave starting from, at the latest, one month before the birth. Men are entitled to 54 days leave and six months can be divided between the parents.

Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir, head of the Center for Gender Equality, told that parental leave is too short in Iceland. “It should be one year and split equally between parents,” she said.


24.10.2013 | Fathers in Iceland Take Shorter Leave than before Crash


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