Family leave

Family leaves include the following

  • Maternity leave: 105 workdays (Saturday is also a workday)
  • Paternity leave: 54 workdays of which 1-18 can be held during the period for which maternity or parental allowance is paid (until the child turns two years old)
  • Parental leave (full or partial): 158 workdays from the time at which payment of maternity allowance has ended, adoptive parents are given 234 workdays from the time the child is born, a minimum of 200 workdays
  • Childcare leave: for the full-time care of a child under the age of 3; for the care of an adoptive child for two years after adoption, however only until the child enters school
  • Partial childcare leave up until the end of the second school year (July), or, if the child must start school one year earlier than normal, until the end of the third school year, and in the case of a disabled or chronically ill child until the age of 18
  • Temporary childcare leave: 1-4 workdays to care for or arrange care for a child under the age of 10, who has unexpectedly become ill
  • Temporary leave of absence for a compelling family-related reasons, such as to care of a family member or other close relative, if an illness or accident makes this a necessity
  • Agreement-based leave of absence to care for a family member or another person close to the employee

An employee must notify his/her employer of leave observing the notification periods determined in the Employment Contracts Act. When the leave comes to an end, the employee shall have the right to return to his/her previous job.  If such work is no longer available, he or she shall be offered work of a similar kind. The employee may not be given notice of termination while pregnant, nor after the employee has expressed the intention to take family leaves or if he or she is on family leave.

Maternity, paternity and parental leave

Under the Employment Contracts Act, an employee is entitled to a period of leave during which he or she can receive a maternity, special maternity, paternity or parental allowance. Maternity leave is 105 week days.

The paternity leave can last up to 54 week days. Fathers can choose to stay at home up to 18 weekdays at the same time as the child's mother and the rest of the paternity leave must be taken after the parental leave. Alternatively fathers can use their paternity leave (1-54 week days) after maternity and parental  leave. In both cases the paternity leave must be taken before the child turns two years. Parental leave is 158 week days.

Parents can take parental leave full- or part-time. Someone who is the spouse or partner of the parent of a child and who officially resides with him or her (registered relationship) is entitled to parental leave, if the child is born or the other partner has adopted a child under the age of seven after the two partners’ relationship has been officially registered.

Both parents can take full-time parental leave for a maximum of two leave periods. The minimum length of a period of leave is 12 working days. Parental leave may be taken part-time, with each of the parents agreeing with their employer to shorten their working hours and reduce their pay accordingly for at least two months.

Parents on partial parental leave may look after their child either on alternate days or in alternate weeks, or with one parent looking after the child in the mornings, and the other in the afternoons.

Publications (Descriptions in English)

Further information:

Guidance and supervision of labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)

Law-drafting: Seija Jalkanen, seija.jalkanen(at)