Sweden takes the issue of equal parenting seriously with a program called “daddy quota”.
Sweden extended its “daddy quota” from a 30-day leave in 1995 to a 90-day leave on 1 January 2017 to encourage fathers to stay at home.
Sweden was the first country in the world to offer parental leave instead of maternity leave in 1974. Despite this change, the majority of leave were still taken by women and the few men taking them were nicknamed “velvet dads”.
To change this, the government introduced the “daddy quota” in 1995 giving fathers a 30-day leave. Fathers who wouldn’t take the leave would lose that month’s paid leave.
According to Quartz, this quota had a massive impact and the proportion of men taking leave went from 44% to 77% after its introduction. The daddy quota was first extended to 60 days on 2002 and was recently increased to 90 days in the start of the new year.
Pia Schober, a researcher working at the German Institute for Economic Research and looking at gender differences in education, employment and household told Quartz: “The take-it-or-leave-it system is important to increasing the number of paternity leave, but only to an extent.”
She explained that men are more likely to take the leave if it is well-paid and that the daddy quota could be less of an incentive if countries set low mandatory parental leaves.
The leave being paid at 80% of the fathers’ salaries explains the success of the program. Nine out of 10 fathers now take leave helping to increase equal parenting in the country.
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