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Maternity & Paternity Leave in Sweden

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave (föräldraledighet) systems in the world. Parents are given 480 days of leave per child, and 420 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of your salary up to a capped limited of 910 SEK a day.

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.

Contacting Försäkringskassan

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

About Morgan Erickson

Morgan Erickson
Morgan is the founder of Your Living City. Her education and career background are focused in business, marketing and communication. She specializes in business development. It is her passion and focus that has been the driving force behind Your Living City, and what will make it become the premiere resource for people living in or moving to Sweden.

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  1. Mohammed Zoheb Hossain


    I would like to know in Sweden, if the father qualifies to take parental leave for 240 days if the mother is not employed. A little more specific detail is highly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Mohammed – I think it is 480 days per couple – no matter the working status of either parent. So even if the mother is unemployed, the couple still gets 480 days total of paid leave. It is the amount of money paid per day that would differ based on employment status – not the amount of days. If the father was employed and took paternity days – the $ would be based off his salary for those days. When the mother was home with the baby – the $ would be based on her unemployed status.

      • Salam Mohammed,

        I live in the States, and I would really appreciate it if you would provide some info regarding delivering my baby while my wife and myself (both are US citizens) are on a vacation to Sweden. and what to expect to pay as far as hospital fees and medical care.

        Thank you

  2. I’d like to know if a person receiving benefits can live abroad temporarily – I’ve lived and legally worked in Sweden 4 years now, but my partner lives in the UK at the moment. I wonder if in case we had a baby, I could live in the UK for the time of my maternity leave. Thank you for your help!

  3. Farrah Gillani

    Hi Amber! I think it is possible to live abroad for up to 6 months, without any impact on your child benefit. However, I would suggest you get in touch with FK as you have special circumstances; they will be able to answer any questions: 0771-524 524, Good luck!

  4. Hi!..I have been working for the past 9 months in sweden but am not permanent employee.Work on project basis.But i do have a residence permit as i followed my husband here.Wanted to know if i will be entitled for a maternity leave with 80% pay.I am due in June.

    Thanks !

  5. Farrah Gillani

    Hi Mika, as far as I can see, if you have been legally working for over 240 days, even on a project basis, you should be entitled to that pay, but do follow up with FK and make sure.

  6. Hi, just want to check, my husband is a Swedish citizen. Can he still take his paternity leave if our baby is born overseas? As I’m planning to go back to my country for the birth.

  7. Hello,

    I am working here in Stockholm since one year, My wife is pregnant now and she does not work anywhere, I have heard that couple can get upto 480 leave, so here if i will transfer all of my leaves to my wife how much money she will be getting per month(because she does not work) and from which month of pregnancy she can claim for this amount.

  8. How many long can mother take leave before the baby is due to be born?

  9. Hi, I have been working in the past 2 years in Sweden. I love travelling and I wondering during my pregnancy I’m thinking to travel to a European country but if I accidentally give birth earlier than I expected. I wondering do I still entitled to the maternity pay if my baby is not born in Sweden?



  10. I heard that when a mother comes back from maternity and wants to cut down on her hours of work she is been compensated please I will like to confirm if the fathers can enjoy this pay compensation too. thank you

  11. I have a question and I cant seem to find any useful information in English.

    If the mum gives birth in another European country, like Denmark or UK while the father works and resides in Sweden, do the parents still get paternal leave, especially the father?
    I married my husband in UK and at the moment I am residing in UK while hubby is in Sweden. If I fall pregnant and give birth in UK before moving to live permanently in Sweden while the baby is couple of months old, will my hubby get paternal leave even though the baby isnt born in Sweden per se? Or do BOTH parents have to reside permanently in Sweden and baby has to be born in Sweden to get the paternal leave?

    Thanks a lot. I really appreciate any information.

  12. Hi, please I was wondering if an adopted parent is also entitle to part of the 480 days parental leave?

  13. Hi,

    My wife is swedish and we are having a baby overseas (and currently live overseas due to my employment) and I was wondering if we are entitled to any benefits? Can anyone answer that?


  14. Hey,
    Hope this thread is still open, would love to get your input on this.
    Regarding the 240 days you need to have been working before you are allowed the 80% salary from the Försakningskassan. (…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.) I wonder if that is actually working for 240 days or is it being able to work(i mean does the weekend count) and are there any certain amount of hour that make up a days work?
    Thanks for the useful blogpost.

  15. Are 240 working days should be consecutive or minimum working days in some span of time? I had worked 240 days previously legally in Sweden . I am not working currently from last 9 months? Am I eligible to 80% parental leave?

  16. Excuse me….but if parental leave is just 80% of your salary, and in my case my salary is around 10 000 SEK per month, how should i survive with 8 000 SEK per month? If count i have to pay for home, food and care my other kids plus new born baby, usually needs more care!?! Is there really no sort of extra payments??? In that case giving birth of a child in Sweden and taking full time care is to much complicated…

  17. I cannot thank you enough for the post.Really looking forward to reading more. Want more.

  18. Is the parental benefit received taxable?

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