Sweden’s Equality Minister wants to extend the country’s paid paternity leave to three months, up from the current two.
That’s paternity leave. Currently, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott is wrangling for a payment of up to $50,000 plus superannuation for six months’ leave, for mothers.
Sweden has had a paid parental leave program in place since 1974. The latest iteration sees either parent receive 16 months’ leave per child, with 13 months of it paid at up to 80 per cent of their salary.
The cap sits at roughly $59,000 a year, and it can be taken anytime up until the child turns eight.
Two months of leave is reserved exclusively for men, and Sweden’s Equality Minister Maria Arnholm, from the Liberal People’s Party side of the country’s ruling alliance, says it’s still not enough.
“Women have lower wages and lower pensions,” Arnholm flagged in a press release back in September.
“We know this because they take the main responsibility for home and family. Increasing gender equality in parental leave means we are also increasing opportunities for higher wages and higher pensions.”
Now with the country facing general elections in two months’ time, the compulsory third month for men is officially on the table.
Back in Australia, politicians from all sides are arguing the toss in regard to how much of a burden any version of a PPL scheme would be on the voting public and the country’s economy.
On that front, Sweden’s not doing too bad either.
The country suffered through a crushing financial crisis in the 1990s, but weathered the GFC better than most of its European counterparts and enjoys “low levels of national debt, low and stable inflation and a healthy banking system”, according to its own official web page.
The World Economic Forum ranked Sweden sixth on this year’s Global Competitiveness Index.
Australia sits at 21st, a couple of rungs below New Zealand.
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