With the imminent arrival of child #2, we are about to get another full complement of parental leave days. I believe Sweden has the best parental leave in the world, meaning the most days at the highest pay. I assumed that most of northern Europe was the same. But it is not. Sweden rocks.
You can find the official guidelines in English here.
But to break it down:
We get 480 days of parental leave, which we can split into half days and the like if we want. 90 days of that must be taken at a “low level,” meaning about 60 dollars a day. The rest comes in at about 80 percent of your pay.
Fathers get 10 days when the child is born. And, in a recent attempt to get more fathers to take more leave, 60 (I think) of the 480 days are reserved only for dads.
You can take the days up until the child is seven years old.
Oh, in Sweden you get a child allowance from the state too. Yep, money in the bank every month.
Many families are forced to burn through their days at full time, meaning the child enters daycare at about 15-18 months. With some careful budgeting, we are hoping to get at least 20 months, with days to spare for future years.
Compare this to America, where I took six weeks off when NK was born, unpaid. I took more unpaid time the next spring but that required E’s back to break and all sorts of doctors notes. Add bad doctors, cold neighbors (save one), no support network, no sense of community, no second car. And you pretty much have hell.
But, the upside of hell is that we did not use any of our 480 days for NK. Once we arrived in Sweden, we got all those days, though we also had to take months worth at the lowest level.
Still, I got five months off with her. And we have days to spare, and four-and-a-half years to use them.