When a child is born to a family, the parents are entitled to family leave, i.e. to stay at home and look after the child.
Family leave signifies
child care leave
Notify your employer of your family leave at least two months in advance.
Family leave is usually unpaid vacation. Whether or not you will be paid for your family leave depends on your collective agreement. Check the matter from your employer.
Kela pays family allowance for the time of family leave, i.e. parental allowance and home care allowance. Read about the conditions of family allowance on the Infopankki web pages Kela benefits for a family after a child is born and Looking after a child at home.
You are usually entitled to family leave, even if you are not eligible for Kela’s family allowance.
When the family leave has ended, the employee has the right to return to their own work or to comparable work in their old workplace. The contract of employment of a pregnant woman cannot be dissolved, nor can she be discriminated against because of her pregnancy.
Employers and employees in Finland are very familiar with these family leaves and they are commonly utilised.
linkkiMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Family leaveFinnish | Swedish | English
Information on benefits for families with childrenFinnish | Swedish | English
The duration of maternity leave is 105 weekdays. Working is allowed during maternity leave if it can take place without endangering the safety of the mother, foetus or child. However, the mother cannot work while on maternity leave during the two weeks before the expected date of delivery, nor during the two weeks after giving birth.
Paternity leave is the part of parental leave intended for the father. The length of paternity leave is 54 weekdays. These days cannot be transferred to the mother.
You can take a maximum of 18 days of paternity leave at the same time as the mother of your child is on maternity or parental leave. You can divide these days into up to four periods.
The remaining 36 days can be divided into up to two periods. During these 36 days, the mother of your child cannot be on parental leave. The intention is that the father will look after the child. You can also take all 54 days of paternity leave at a different time than the mother.
You can decide for yourself if you want to have all paternity leave days or only some of them. Paternity leave can only be used to take care of a child who is under 2 years of age. When your child turns 2, you can no longer stay on paternity leave even if you have some days left.
After the period of maternity leave, either the mother or father can stay at home to look after the baby on parental leave which is 158 weekdays long. Both parents cannot take parental leave at the same time. Parental leave can, however, be divided so that the father and the mother take turns in staying home with the child.
Child care leave
After the parental leave period is over, the father or mother can take unpaid child care leave to look after their child until the child turns 3.
This requires that the mother or father has been working for the same employer for at least 6 months during the past year. During the child care leave, Kela pays the parent home care allowance. Read more about the conditions for home care allowance at the Infopankki web page Looking after a child at home.
Partial child care leave
Child care leave can also be part-time. This means working shorter hours and being paid correspondingly less. It is also possible for both parents to take partial child care leave, for example, so that one works in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You can stay on partial child care leave until your child completes his/her second school grade.
You can apply for partial child care allowance from Kela for looking after a child who is under the age of 3 or in grade 1 or 2 of school if you have a municipality of residence in Finland. Partial child care allowance is not granted for looking after a child who is three years old or over, but not yet in school.
Read more about partial child care allowance on the Infopankki web page Looking after a child at home.