The new conservative government’s decision to reduce paternity leave has set off criticism in Parliament, from politicians who call it a setback for gender equality.
The former left-center government coalition had boosted the number of weeks of fully paid leave allotted to fathers from 10 to 14. Now the new government is rolling it back to 10. If the father doesn’t take the leave, the couple will lose it.
Arve Bakke of the large labour union Fellesforbundet called the cut “a major step backwards” for equality between men and women. He fears fewer men will seek more leave than the minimum demanded, meaning that now they won’t stay home for longer than 10 weeks.
Three of 10 female executives surveyed agreed with him, as did two of 10 male executives, contending that a lower mandatory leave quota for men will have negative effects on equality in the workplace. The government, however, contends that couples should decide for themselves who should take how much paid parental leave, which currently amounts to around a year in total.