Parents in Sweden who were looking forward to a monetary bonus for each of their children may be out of luck. An initiative started in 2008 by the center-right government that included parents receiving up to $1,629 per child will likely end, as opponents have said it is costing the Swedish government more money than it is willing to spend.
Prior to 2008, the government had offered parents 16-month leaves of absence from work, but the time off had to be shared between the parents. At least two of the months had to be shared by one parent, typically the father, so the other parent could bare most of the duties of raising their child or children, according to a Swedish news agency.
The gender equality bonus was enacted in 2008 to encourage parents to share more of the child-raising duties. The argument was that by co-parenting more equally, it would allow for mothers to return to work more easily, and for fathers to take part in more of role in raising the child.
But some leaders in the government have said the initiative is only a financial burden on the government and does not encourage shared parenting responsibilities, insisting it costs about 1 million kronor — or about $121,000 — a year. The equality bonus is planned to end by 2017.
The government hopes to instead put through a new proposal that would require a three-month minimum for one of the parents to take off instead of two. This plan would have no bonus attached to it.
— Bonzun (@BonzunApp) September 4, 2015
Parental leave in Sweden still allows for all parents who take off to get 80 percent of their salary for at least 13 out of the 16 months they can take off. The rest of the days are paid at a flat rate of about $22 a day, CNN reported.
The leave program was introduced in 1974, when women claimed 99.5 percent of all parental leave. That number has since dropped to its current level of 75 percent.