25 Jul 2024
Maternity & Paternity Leave in Sweden
Finance Parenting Pregnancy & Baby Work & Money

Maternity & Paternity Leave in Sweden

maternity paternity parental maternal leave Sweden föräldraledighet rights försäkringskassa money pay stockholm family
Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave (föräldraledighet) systems in the world. Parents are given 480 days of leave per child, and 390 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of your salary up to a capped limited of 1006 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 parental 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 parental leave?

To be eligible for basic benefits (180 SEK a day for 480 days) you must be a legal resident of Sweden and under the Swedish social security system.

Who pays for parental leave?

Your employer does not cover the cost of your parental 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 parental leave days are you entitled to?

Parents are entitled to 480 days of parental 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.

However, it is possible for one parent to take up to 390 days of the 480 days. To do this the other parent has to ‘transfer’ 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 parental 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 parental leave 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.

As of January 2019, the second parent can take general parental leave from the sixtieth day before the due date, to join his/her partner during prenatal visits at Mödravårdscentralen (MVC). Parental leave can also be used for school and preschool introduction, also known as inskolning.

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. In addition to the 480 parental leave days per child, companies are also bound 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.

maternity paternity parental maternal leave Sweden föräldraledighet rights försäkringskassa money pay stockholm family

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 250 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 are 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 1006 SEK a day.


SGI – Sjukpenningsgrundande inkomst

The term stands for the income on which sick pay and other benefits is calculated. The SGI is a sum calculated by Försäkringskassan based on your income and that is the foundation of how much money you can get if you are for instance on parental leave or home with a sick child.

You should also bear in mind that there is a an upper limit to your SGI. Better explained, your SGI equals your monthly salary x 12. BUT, there is an upper limit for an SGI. So if your salary is higher than the upper limit, you will not get 80% of your salary when you, for instance go on parental leave, instead you’ll receive 80% of your SGI. In 2020 the upper limit of the SGI was 378 400 SEK.

In the instance that you have not yet worked 240 days in Sweden, before going on parental leave, you will receive 250 SEK per day (data from 2019).

When will you get paid:

Parental benefits are paid out between the 25th & 27th of the month.

maternity paternity parental maternal leave Sweden föräldraledighet rights försäkringskassa money pay stockholm family your living city

Can I work while on parental leave?

Working while taking parental 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 parental benefits be paid out:

The system is very flexible, so the parental benefits can be paid out for full days, half days, quarter 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 Customer Center at 0771524524

Information in English: www.forsakringskassan.se/sprak/eng


Original  article Morgan Erickson

Research by Carmel Heiland

Edited by Nina Uddin

Photography by Karen Lundquist -Stockholm portrait photographer


  • […] Maternity & Paternity Leave in Sweden […]

  • Mohammed Zoheb Hossain 27 Aug 2012


    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.

    • J 15 Oct 2012

      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.

      • Husam 31 Jan 2015

        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

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  • Amber 30 Nov 2012

    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!

    • Dina 26 Sep 2022

      Hello Amber,
      I wonder if you got the reply on your question or if you learned anything from your experience?
      I also want to go abroad temporarily while being on maternity leave, but wonder if there is any limit for how long i an leave Sweden or if there are any consequences?
      Thank you

  • Farrah Gillani 30 Nov 2012

    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!

  • Mika 20 Dec 2012

    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 !

  • Farrah Gillani 20 Dec 2012

    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.

  • […] agrees about Stockholm is that it’s expensive. So it’s good to know what you will likely get as Maternity and Paternity leave, which may well be available even if you have drawn both in your home country, since the system is […]

  • […] Congratulations! You’ve picked a fine, family-friendly city to have your baby in! Not only are Sweden’s maternity AND paternity benefits so generous, but there are also so many activities on, both within and without the English-speaking […]

  • Nadya 3 Mar 2013

    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.

  • ajay 3 Apr 2013


    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.

  • Sofie 10 May 2013

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

  • […] Your Living City – Maternity and Paternity Leave in Sweden […]

  • Kelly 18 Sep 2013

    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?



  • tee 20 Oct 2013

    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

  • […] I didn’t conjure it up from hours of soul searching. I was reading about Sweden’s far better parental leave policies when I realized my nearsightedness. Sweden offers its residents 480 days of paid parental leave to […]

  • […] Congratulations! You’ve picked a fine, family-friendly city to have your baby in! Not only are Sweden’s maternity AND paternity benefits so generous, but there are also so many activities on, both within and without the […]

  • UH 27 Jun 2014

    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.

  • samira 29 Aug 2014

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

  • Dennis 31 Oct 2014


    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?


  • Jessica 11 Dec 2014

    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.

  • Srira 12 Dec 2014

    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?

  • Nataly 13 Feb 2015

    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…

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  • Rosario Gooch 17 May 2017

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

  • Sweety 9 Aug 2017

    Is the parental benefit received taxable?

  • […] have been proposed and the results are promising. In Sweden, mothers and fathers are given 480 days of parental leave, cutting childcare costs when it is most expensive (infant care is roughly 12% […]

  • Debra Cruse 21 Mar 2020

    Greetings, I was just visiting your site and filled out your contact form. The feedback page on your site sends you these messages via email which is the reason you’re reading through my message right now correct? This is the holy grail with any type of online ad, getting people to actually READ your message and that’s exactly what I just accomplished with you! If you have an ad message you would like to blast out to thousands of websites via their contact forms in the U.S. or to any country worldwide let me know, I can even focus on specific niches and my charges are very reasonable. Send a reply to: [email protected]

  • Robert 4 Jun 2021

    I have only been employed legally in Sweden (previously EU contractor) for 5 months. My child is now 2 soon to be 3 years old and I have her 50% of the time. Do I qualify for parental leave? And if so is there a certain age that I must use these days up before? Thanks 🙂

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  • Rasel 9 Feb 2022

    I have been working last 240 days with different permits (study permit and work permit). Does it ok? Or I need to work based on work permit?

  • Greeshma Koothuparambil 18 Feb 2022

    Hi I have been working in Sweden since 2 years 3 months continuously and I have a child born in non-EU county 4 years before. Now my parent leave pay has been decided at basic level for first 180 days citing I did not work 240days in Sweden before my child was born. So as immigrant worker who pays tax I am not eligible for parental leave pay at SGI level. Is this true. Or is there some misunderstanding

  • Nupur 15 Jun 2022

    Hello All, I moved to Sweden in January 2022 and I am pregnant now my due date is 27th October 2022. I will be completing 240 calender days of officially working in sweden on 30th September. My question 240 days is calender days or working days required to get the maternity benefit?

  • med spa 25 Oct 2023

    Awsome website! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also.

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