LO wants individualised parental insurance

Welfare issues On 18 June the LO Congress resolved to push for individualisation of parental insurance so that half of the parental leave days are allocated to each parent individually.

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Congress thus went against the LO Executive Council’s recommendation to await the result of the ongoing Inquiry on Parental Insurance.

Parental insurance is of central importance to LO, since it has consequences for women’s and men’s labour market conditions and women’s ability to be economically self-supporting throughout life. LO cannot accept a parental insurance system that contributes to worse conditions, pay and career opportunities for women than men.

Despite the fact that parental insurance can be shared equally, women take up the majority of both parental leave days and temporary parental benefit – called “VAB” (caring for a sick child). It is therefore regarded by many parents as “natural” for men to devote themselves to a greater extent to paid employment and women to unpaid care provision and housework.

Today half the days of benefit are already allocated to each parent and already at the time when the insurance was introduced in 1974 it was possible for the parents to share the days equally. However, it is possible for one parent/guardian to transfer all except 90 of their days of benefit to the other parent/guardian.

Despite our generous parental insurance, the trend towards a more gender-equal working life is going far too slowly. With a more gender-equal take up of parental leave and temporary parental benefit, companies and organisations would probably see the rationality of offering both women and men full time employment to a greater extent, for example. This would also mean that women are not disadvantaged in working life in the way that they can be today.