How much parental leave?

How much leave can you take?

Under the new rules for parental leave, you can apply for 24 weeks of leave after the birth, if you live with the child’s other parent at the time of the birth. If you are in employment, 11 weeks are reserved for you alone – so there are several things to consider:

  • How much of the time do you and
    your child’s mum want to be together on maternity leave?
  • How many of your 24 weeks
    do you want to use?
  • When in the period of parental leave will you take your weeks individually and together?
  • Are you going to take the 11 weeks reserved for you?

Parental leave after the birth

The first two weeks of parental leave reserved for you are intended as a time for both parents to be together with the new baby. This gives a great feeling of security and a fantastic feeling of togetherness around it. However, many parents feel it is too early to go back to work after two weeks. So it might be a good idea to take some of your holiday, perhaps two or three weeks, immediately after the two weeks of parental leave, if you don’t want to use any more of your leave at the beginning.

I think she’s really pleased that I want to – I know she is. She knows it has meant shorter maternity leave for her than she would have had if I had not taken these weeks. And I think she had to weigh it up with herself, but then I insisted, and she accepted it. And she was pleased. In short, she supported me in taking leave.

How will you divide your parental leave?

Next, you have to decide how to share out the weeks that are not reserved. It is a very good idea to talk this over as early as possible in the pregnancy, so that you have more or less finished discussing it before the birth.

It can be difficult to talk about, because there are so many things to consider about dividing your leave: traditions, breast feeding, what you want, the family economy, what it means for your work, what is normal among friends and the family, and what is normal at your workplace.

Yes, well, in principle she was mostly positive about it, but then she... well, when her own maternity leave was over, then she wished it could have lasted a bit longer, didn’t she?

It is important that you think first about what is best for the baby and your relationship with him or her. At the same time, it is best to admit to each other that it is difficult to give up weeks of parental leave, because you both want to be with your baby as much as possible. It can be especially difficult once you have started on your parental leave.
Most parents, both fathers and mothers, want more time with the child when they have taken parental leave.

I would happily take a year more.

When should you take paternity leave?

If you only want to take the weeks that are reserved for you in addition to the first two weeks immediately after the birth, then there are several factors that suggest you should take the last nine weeks of parental leave – especially out of consideration for breast feeding, if your baby is still being fully breast fed at ten months old, although very few are.

Then you will probably be the parent responsible for introducing the child to the nursery or day care, or wherever your child will be looked after. This is an important and enjoyable task; you will also get to know the place where your child will spend a lot of time in the next years, and the people who will be looking after the child.

Do you want to take your reserved weeks?

Some fathers simply do not want to take the nine weeks of parental leave reserved for them. If you are in doubt, there are several things you can consider. First and foremost, why?

You can listen to the experiences of others who have taken paternity leave, and men who did not take paternity leave, and weigh your reasons against theirs. You can perhaps get some good advice from someone like the health visitor.

If you are not certain about taking all nine weeks, consider taking some of the weeks instead. You might feel you would prefer to take the weeks of leave, or some of them, at the same time as your partner, so you are together with the baby. If you do not take the weeks that are reserved
for you, they will be lost as they cannot be transferred to the child’s other parent.

I had fixed working hours from Monday to Friday, and it just didn’t work out... I simply love the job, but that lack of flexibility just makes it incredibly difficult as a family with children.