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This Is How Iceland Tackles Its Parental Leave Issues

This Is How Iceland Tackles Its Parental Leave Issues

  • Here's why we think it's time to adopt parental leave solutions from Iceland.

We know that there are varied cultures from all over the world, and the work culture also varies depending upon the countries, HR and company policies.

It’s interesting to explore and learn the best things from different work cultures from around the globe. Let’s start with Iceland.

Family friendly policies are a must for a motivated and happy workforce. Parental leave is especially a tough nut to crack. Too little leave and the women tend to leave under the challenges of taking care of a new born, while too much leave risks women’s earning in the long-term. “If the family leave gets very long and very extended, then it may encourage women to stay out longer than they otherwise would have,” explained economist Francine Blau in an interview.

Though Sweden was the first country to introduce ‘daddy-leave’ a form of paternity leave in 1995, Iceland, a tiny country is leading at the moment.

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In 2007 Iceland announced a law that granted three months of non-transferable parental leave to both mothers and fathers and an additional three months of shared leave was granted to the couple to use as they choose.

The law turned to be very popular and a rousing success. According to the 2007 statistics, 90% of fathers took 101 days, which is almost 1/3 of the total family’s benefit days. The gender equality report of the country in 2012 stated that the policy resulted in more gender equality at work and better father-child bonding.

Following the success of the previous law, Iceland recently took a step ahead with a 5-2-5 policy. Where both the parents are entitled to five months each of non-transferable leaves and an additional two months of shared leave.

A study on a new paid paternity leave quota by Cornell Graduate student, Ankita Prajapati defines how a parent’s time usage has changed significantly. While on one hand fathers have begun to spend more time on child-care and domestic work, and on the other, mothers are spending comparatively more time working and contributing to the economy. And all this without any public mandates or shams.

Old habits take time to evolve or dissolve. Even today in Iceland, the #1 ranked country according to The World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Gender Gap Report hasn’t hit complete equality. Women are still underrepresented in managerial positions and the wage gap still persists. And also, though the fathers take the non-transferable leave they rarely take any shared leave.

It’s high time that this gender equality issue is answered globally. Maybe it’s time for a global law to emerge for better work equality and also for the betterment of family relationships.

Is it time for 6-6 law globally? What are your thoughts?

Read more: How To Be More Assertive And Set Personal Boundaries
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