If you are coming from the USA, where companies usually give between 14 to 90 days of mostly unpaid maternity leave, you might be thinking you are in ‘maternity-leave-heaven’. Well the truth of the matter is, you are!
As a new mum, I have learned that although the benefits are fantastic, it is not easy navigating through Försäkringskassan’s (the authority that handles parental leave benefits) rules and regulations. The system is seemingly based on a combination of strict rules and very loose guidelines. This is a combination that can leave one confused, irritated and on the phone to Försäkringskassan on almost a weekly basis.
But what does this mean for you? Well it means that as long as your case is 100% straight forward things will generally move along with great efficiency and ease. But if your parents leave claim lands in one of the many grey areas, things start to become much more complicated.
So first let’s cover the basics.
Parental Leave Basics:
Who’s eligible for parent leave?
To be eligible for basic benefits (180 SEK a day for 480 days) you must be a legal resident of Sweden
Who pays for parent leave?
Your employer does not cover the cost of your parent leave benefit, instead the Swedish Social Insurance Administration (Försäkringskassan) pays out the benefits.
Language you should be aware of:
- Parental leave: föräldraledighet
- Maternity leave: mammaledighet
- Paternity leave: pappaledighet
How many days will I get?
How many parent leave days are you entitled to?
Parents are entitled to 480 days of parent leave for each child. If you have twins you are entitled to an additional 180 days.
How are these days divided between parents?
Parents are encouraged to split these days equally between them. If you do this, you will be entitled to an additional equality bonus.
However, it is possible for one parent to take up to 420 days of the 480 days. To do this the other parent has to ‘give these days’ to the other parent.
The only exception to this rule is for single parents with sole custody. In these cases, the parent can take all 480 days leave.
Can both parents take parent leave at the same time:
Yes. During the first 3 months of the new baby’s life, the father is entitled to be home for 10 days. These days are in addition to the 480 parent days.
In addition to these first 10 days, both parents are able to be home together for 30 days during your child’s first year. These are called ‘double days’ because you get 2 days of parent leave deducted – one day for each parent.
Can an employer deny parental leave?
No. Parental leave is a legal right for all parents in Sweden. This means a company cannot deny your request for leave for any reason. Companies, in addition to the 480 parent leave days per child, are also entitled to allow you to reduce your working hours by an additional 25%.
Note: You can reduce your working hours up to 25% even if your parental leave days have been used up, however, you will not be compensated for these reduced working hours.
Let’s Talk Money
How much money?
Now things start getting much more complicated. Your parental leave payment really depends on your personal circumstances, your immigration status, the amount of days you have been living and/or working in Sweden, your salary, and whether you have been working for the last 240 days.
Basic Level of Benefit (even if you have not worked in Sweden)
As long as you are a legal resident of Sweden you are entitled to the basic parental leave payment which is 180 SEK a day. This means you are eligible even if you have not been earning money in Sweden prior to your child’s birth. However, if you receiving parental benefits from other countries, this amount will be docked from your Swedish benefit.
Parent leave payment range:
If you are a legal resident of Sweden, have been legally working here for the last 240 days then in most cases you will be entitled to 80% of your salary for the first 420 days of your parent leave. The maximum daily payment is capped at 910 SEK a day.
Here’s a graph that shows the estimated payment amounts for various salaries and days taken per week.
When will you get paid:
Parent Benefits are paid out between the 25th & 27th of the month.
Can I work while on parent leave?
Working while taking parent leave:
A person cannot work full-time and also take parent leave benefits. However, you can work part-time and take parental leave the rest of the time.
How can parent Benefits be paid out:
Parental benefits can be paid out for full days, half days or even one-eighth of a day.
Parents can also get state compensation when they need to take time off work to look after a sick child. This is valid for parents of children up to 12, and sometimes for children up to 16, depending on the circumstances.
How to get in touch with Försäkringskassan:
To claim your benefits and to find out how much you are entitled to in your particular circumstances, contact your local branch of Försäkringskassan.
You can reach their Kundcenter at 0771524524
Information in English: www.forsakringskassan.se/sprak/eng
Story by Morgan Erickson
Research done by Carmel Heiland