Family leave reform increases equality and takes better account of different types of families
The family leave reform enters into force on 1 August 2022. The new types of parental leave will mainly apply to parents expecting a child on or after 4 September 2022.
The reform will, for the first time, give both parents an equal quota of parental leave. The reform seeks to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life and to promote a more balanced sharing of care responsibilities and parenting between the genders.
The reform will also take better account of different types of families, single parents and multiple-birth families. All parents who have custody of their child will have an equal right to daily allowance regardless of whether they are biological or adoptive, custodial or non-custodial and regardless of the gender of the parent.
As part of the reform, the provisions of the Employment Contracts Act concerning family leaves are amended. The names of the leaves will change to correspond with the names of the benefits granted under the Health Insurance Act. The duration of the leaves and the period during which they can be taken will be determined based on the benefits granted under the Health Insurance Act. Parental leave can be divided into a maximum of four periods. The reform will also introduce the right to carers’ leave. Employees will have the right to take unpaid carers’ leave for up to five days per year.
Applying for benefits in OmaKela e-service
The family leave reform will introduce three parental benefits known as special pregnancy allowance, pregnancy allowance and parental allowance. All benefits under the new Act can be applied for using the OmaKela e-service (kela.fi/web/en/e-services) as from 1 August 2022.
Now both parents can apply for allowance under the new Act as from 1 August 2022. If a child has two parents, parental allowance is divided equally between them, which means that each parent is entitled to allowance for 160 working days. If a child has only one parent, the parent is entitled to parental allowance for a total of 320 working days. Parents may agree to give up as many as 63 days of their own quota to the other parent or the person caring for the child.
Since May 2022, birthing parents have been allowed to transfer days of their own quota to the other parent. However, the other parent cannot transfer days of their own quota until the child is born. The transfer can be made using the OmaKela e-service.
As before, parents will be able to take leave at the same time for up to 18 working days. Parental allowance days can be used at any time before the child reaches the age of two. The old and new legislation on family leaves will exist side by side until the end of 2024. The old legislation applies to parents expecting a child before 4 September 2022.
Eva Ojala, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]
Seija Jalkanen, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, [email protected]
Tarja Kahiluoto, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, [email protected] (as from 8 August 2022)
More information on family leaves:
• Kela’s press release on the family leave reform, 29 July 2022 (links to materials in English are provided in the press release)
• Website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
• Website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
• Website of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela)