Draft Law in Norway to Extend Paternal Leave to 12 Weeks

by Kathy Jones on  May 31, 2011 at 8:38 PM Lifestyle News
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A bill discussed Monday called for extending the parental leave available only to fathers to 12 weeks from today's 10 meaning that Norwegian men appear set to take more time off with their newborns.
 Draft Law in Norway to Extend Paternal Leave to 12 Weeks
Draft Law in Norway to Extend Paternal Leave to 12 Weeks

The draft proposal, which is expected to easily pass the house and thus strengthen Norway's position as one of the world's most generous providers of paternity leave, also calls for extending overall parental leave by one week.

According to the bill, new parents would have the right to take a total of 47 weeks away from work with 100 percent of their salaries, up to a ceiling, covered by the state, or 57 weeks with 80 percent of their usual pay.

As today, parents would be free to share the total as they see fit, but 12 of the weeks would be reserved only for the father, up from 10 weeks previously.

And Norway's centre-left government has said it aims to extend paternity leave further, to 14 weeks, by the end of its term in 2013.

The bill discussed Monday aims to push fathers in Norway, which is already considered a world leader in gender equality, to take more responsibility for child rearing.

It is also aimed at smoothing out inequalities between the sexes in the workplace, where women have long been penalised professionally for their anticipated or actual long absences linked to childcare.

According to commercial broadcaster TV2, the existing "daddy quota," which was introduced in 1993 when fathers were given exclusive rights to four weeks of the total parental leave -- has worked well.

Around 90 percent of men take some of the shared parental leave today, up from less than three percent before the quota, it reported Monday.

"I have had the best winter of my life," said Family Minister Audun Lysbakken in March, when he returned to work after taking 16 weeks of parental leave.

"It was of huge importance to me to have spent all this time with my daughter. It's a privilege to be able to spend so much time with our families, paid for by the state," he told TV2 at the time.

The draft law was expected Monday to pass a first round in parliament, where the centre-left government holds a majority, before it goes to final approval within the next few weeks.

If approved, the law will go into effect on July 1.

Source: AFP

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