(Sept. 30, 2013) The Swedish government, on September 24, 2013, presented a budget package to the Parliament (Proposition (Prop.) 2013/14:14, REGERINGSKANSLIET.SE (Sept. 24, 2013)) that includes legislation to grant working parents paid benefits when staying home from work with their child. The benefits would be applicable for use up until the child’s 12th birthday. The current legislation, which gives parents 460 days to use for time with their children as they see fit, only allows for such paid leave up until the child’s 8th birthday. (Svensk Författningssamling [SFS] 2010:110 Socialförsäkringsbalken [Social Insurance Act], Ch. 12 § 13, Swedish Parliament website.)
The purpose of the new legislation is to accommodate parents who need to take care of older children during school holidays and school vacations. (Föräldrapenning till tolv års ålder – men högst 96 dagar fårtas ut när barnet fyllt fyra, DAGENS JURIDIK.SE (Sept. 25, 2013).) The legislation would add a requirement that the parent care for the child in a manner suitable to the child’s age. (Id.) In addition, after the new legislation enters into force in January 2014, parents will have to use all but 96 days of the 460 available before the child’s fourth birthday, encouraging parents to take more days off when the child is little and is most in need of parental care. (Press Release, Nya åldersgränser och ökad flexibilitet i föräldraförsäkringen, REGERINGSKANSLIET.SE (Sept. 24, 2013).)
Parents who share custody would also share the days, leaving them to sign over their rights to the other parent if they are unable to use those days. This move was explained as designed to make it easier for parents to take an equal amount of time off from work. (Id.) However, 60 days would remain earmarked for separate use by each parent and would be forfeited if not used by the child’s 12th birthday. Under the proposal, parents would still be able to receive “temporary parental benefits” when caring for a sick child. The draft proposal also extends the period under which a separate10-day benefit can be received following the death of a child, from within 30 days of the death to 90 days. (Prop. 2013/14:14.)
Prepared by Elin Hofverberg, Foreign Law Contractor, under the supervision of Edith Palmer, Chief, Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Division II.