Family leaves will be renewed on 1 August 2022. Parental leave will be extended and there will be more flexibility in using the leaves. The family leave reform also involves amending the provisions of the Employment Contracts Act on family leaves (incl. the new carers’ leave). The reformed family leaves apply to families expecting a child whose estimated date of delivery is on 4 September 2022 or later.
If the child's estimated date of delivery is before 4 September 2022, the old provisions on maternity, paternity and parental leave apply, i.e. parents can receive maternity, paternity and parental leave as follows:
- 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
If the child’s estimated date of delivery is on 4 September 2022 or later, the family leaves include:
- pregnancy leave,
- special pregnancy leave
- parental leave.
Other forms of family leave include:
- Childcare leave: for the full-time care of a child under the age of 3; for the care of an adopted 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 right of absence for compelling family reasons: if an employee’s immediate presence is necessary for any unforeseen and compelling family reason owing to illness or accident.
- Agreement-based leave of absence to care for a family member or another person close to the employee: if an employee’s family member or someone else close to him/her is in need of special care, the employer must try to arrange the work so that the employee may be absent from work for a fixed period. No maximum or minimum period is set.
- From 1 August 2022, carers’ leave, which is informal care leave: for a maximum of 5 working days a year to provide personal assistance or support to a relative or loved one living in the same household as the employee The prerequisite is that the relative or loved one needs significant assistance or support for a serious illness or serious injury that has significantly lowered his/her functional capacity and requires the immediate presence of the employee or is in terminal care.
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.
Earnings and benefits during family leaves
Under the Employment Contracts Act, the employer is not required to pay wages during family leaves. However, many collective agreements have agreed on the payment of wages for certain family leave periods. An employer who pays employees on leave wages and holiday pay or holiday compensation may apply to Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) for compensation (see links below).
Parents are entitled to various benefits paid by Kela after a child is born and as the child is growing. For more information on benefits related to family leaves, visit the website of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.
Publications (Descriptions in English)
- Report of the working group on work-life balance, 2021
- Memorandum prepared by a working group assigned to examine return to work after family leave, 2014
Guidance and supervision of labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Seija Jalkanen, seija.jalkanen(at)gov.fi