Plans to extend paid parental leave
A group of opposition MPs are proposing extending paternity leave in Iceland and raising paternity-leave benefits by 35%.
The proportion of Icelandic fathers taking parental leave to spend time with their new-born children has fallen from 90.9% in 2008 to 78.3% in 2014 and something must be done, reads the parliamentary bill submitted by nine MPs from the centre-left Social Democratic Alliance.
The bill proposes extending parental leave rights from nine months to twelve months and raising maximum monthly pay-outs to fathers on paternity leave from ISK 370,000 (approx. €2,600) to ISK 500,000 (approx. €3,500).
Similar proposals to extend parental leave made in 2013 were abandoned in light of other priorities for the national economy. Reductions in parental-leave benefits have led to fewer fathers – whose income tends to be higher than that of mothers – taking parental leave, explains the bill.
“This trend must be stopped to ensure children spend time with both their parents in the first years of their life, to foster gender quality, and to help improve quality of life for families with children,” the proposal reads.
The full text of the parliamentary bill (in Icelandic) can be found here.