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Family leave

Chapter 4 of the Employment Contracts Act lays down provisions on the parents’ right to take time off work due to caring for a child at home or for some other family reason. These leaves are commonly referred to as family leave.

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland pays parental allowance during family leave, so according to the law, employers are not obliged to pay wages to employees during family leave. However, most collective agreements stipulate that some parental leave days are paid time.

Family leave reform 1.8.2022

The family leave reform applies to families where the child’s due date is 4.9.2022 or later.

​​​​​​​As a result of the reform, all parents who have custody of the child will have an equal right to daily allowances regardless of the gender of the parent or whether they are biological or adoptive, resident or non-resident parents.

The aim is to increase the distribution of parental leave and care responsibilities more evenly between both parents and to increase the equal treatment of different types of families in the parental allowance system.

Pregnancy leave
As a result of the reform, maternity leave will be renamed as pregnancy leave. Pregnancy leave (40 days) is continuous and must be started 14–30 days before the due date. An increased parental allowance (90% of earnings) is paid during pregnancy leave. In other words, the pregnant parent has 40 pregnancy allowance days before the parental leave days.

Parental leave
Paternity leave as such will disappear and be replaced by parental leave. Each parent receives its own quota of 160 days of parental allowance, of which 63 days can be transferred to the other parent, other guardian, spouse or spouse of the other parent. For the first 16 days of the parental allowance period, the daily allowance is paid to all persons taking parental leave at an increased rate (90% of earnings).

A prerequisite for receiving parental allowance is that the person on leave takes care of the child. In addition, a person on leave cannot be in gainful employment, other personal work, statutory annual leave or other paid leave at the same time. Other paid leave does not apply to pregnancy, special pregnancy or parental leave, during which the employer pays wages to the employee, but in such cases the daily allowance is paid to the employer paying the wages.

More information on family leaves on Kela’s Elämässä website

Parental allowances under the old act are paid if the child’s due date is before 4 September 2022 or if the child is born prematurely on or before 29.7.2022.

Illness of the child

Employees have the right to be absent from work for a maximum of four working days at a time in order to arrange the care of or care for a child under the age of 10 who has suddenly fallen ill. One parent at a time is entitled to this temporary childcare leave. Parents can divide the childcare leave period among themselves as they wish.

Upon request, the employee must provide a reliable account of the reason for the temporary child-care leave. According to the law, employers are not obliged to pay wages during temporary child-care leave, but most collective agreements contain a provision on the obligation to pay wages for three or four days.