Parental leave - Parents have long benefited from generous paid parental leave in Norway. A recent collective bargaining agreement on behalf of 150,000 employees in the private sector gives new fathers additional rights.
(PresseBox) (Berlin, )By law, all new parents are entitled to 47 weeks of fully paid parental leave, up to maximum annual pay of about EUR 65,000. They must have worked and had pensionable income for 6 months before the benefit period. The benefit is publicly funded. Parents may also choose to receive 80% of their wages and prolong the leave and/or choose to add unpaid leave to the end of the period. In all, parents may be absent from work 3 years for each child.
There are some restrictions on the distribution of the leave. Three weeks prior to the birth and 6 weeks after it are reserved for the mother. Twelve weeks out of the 47 are reserved for the father. Both are obligatory. The remaining time may be distributed between the parents as they wish. Employers may not refuse the leave but must be notified in advance.
In addition to paid leave, new fathers are by law entitled to 2 weeks of unpaid leave in connection with a birth. Public employees have received pay for this period for some time, and the recent agreement now ensures the same entitlement for affiliated members. At present, employers must fund this leave, but there is speculation that this may be made an entitlement by law for all employees. There is a growing trend that employers fund more leave than required by law. For instance, many employers choose to pay the difference between the normal wage of the employee and the parental benefit.
The rights of parents to choose the distribution of leave between the mother and the father is the subject of ongoing political discussion. But for now, employers must adapt to new fathers taking increasingly longer paternal leave.
Einar Sørlie, ECOVIS NORWAY, Oslo, Norway, firstname.lastname@example.org