Plan your parental leave
The rules for parental leave are flexible. Part of the parental leave is reserved for the mother, and the rest can be shared among parents. Parts of the parental leave can be delayed or extended, if you want to begin working part-time again. Be aware of the deadlines for giving notice of your parental leave and applying for unemployment benefits.
The Act on Parental Leave gives the parents the right to be absent from work on account of parental and adoption leave. The rule gives parents who are active in the labour market the right to receive unemployment benefits from the municipality during the parental leave.
The rules for taking a leave from work and the rules for unemployment benefits are not completely parallel, since the right to taking a leave from work lasts longer than the right to unemployment benefits.
Taking parental leave according to the law on unemployment benefits
|Before birth||After birth|
|Mother:||4 weeks||14 weeks
|8 or 14 weeks
|8 or 14 weeks
Remember that in your collective agreement, a right to leave before the birth (for the mother) is specified.
- Employed in the state: 6 weeks
- Employed in the municipality or region: 8 weeks
- Employed in the private sector: depends on the particular collective agreement, but 4 weeks at a minimum
Rules for taking leave from work
- As a mother you are obligated to take a leave from work for the first two weeks after the child’s birth
- As a partner you have the right to take a leave for two weeks after the birth, or according to an agreement with your employer within the first 14 weeks.
- A co-mother has the right to partner’s leave if she has adopted her registered partner’s child already from birth, the child was conceived with artificial insemination, and the partners lived together at the time before the insemination
- Partner’s leave should be held consecutively and cannot be split up in different periods.
- Salaried leave should be held before unpaid leave.
Giving notice of parental leave
You should notify your employer and the municipality of your parental leave. There are rules for when you should notify each of them.
3 months before birth
The mother should notify her employer of her expected due date.
4 weeks before birth
Father/partner should notify the employer when the 2 weeks partner’s leave will be held.
8 weeks after birth
Both mother and father or partner should at the latest 8 weeks after birth give the employer notice about when they will use their parental leave, and if they wish for it to be delayed or extended.
It is the employer who receives unemployment benefits (parental leave reimbursement) in the period where you get your salary. If you have the right to full salary from your employer during your leave, you should ensure that your employer can get the full parental leave reimbursement during the whole period.
If you wish to extend your leave past the 32 weeks by extending unemployment benefits, you should remember to let the municipality know that the unemployment benefits should first be used when the period with full salary is over.
If you are self-employed or employed without a salary, you should submit a request for unemployment benefits from the municipality 8 weeks after birth.
In the case of illness
If your child is hospitalized, your employer should as soon as possible be notified about the time period of the hospitalization, since a hospitalization can give you the possibility of delayed leave.
It is only parents who are employed that can delay their leave. The delay only applies if both parents have gone back to work. You can use your delayed leave until the child is 9 years old.
A delay is rights-based and therefore does not need to be agreed upon with your employer. You can delay between 8-13 weeks of your leave. You should notify your employer at the latest 8 weeks after birth and 16 weeks before the delay. The leave should be held consecutively and as a starting point cannot be combined with the other possibilities for flexible leave. The right to delay is fixed, even if you change jobs. Remember to save the notification you have originally submitted as documentation.
Both parents can delay up to 32 weeks of parental leave and use it at a later point in time. You should make an agreement with your employer, and together work out how the leave can be used. It does not need to be held all at once.
If you change jobs, it is not required that your new employer respect the agreement. If you have available unemployment benefits, however, they will remain available until the child is 9 years old. There are limits in relation to combining this type of delay with other possibilities for flexible leave.
If you have the right to full salary during the delayed leave, the right to the salary will also be delayed on the condition that you have the same employer.
If you are employed, you can extend your leave by either 8 or 14 weeks. If you are unemployed, you can extend your leave by only 8 weeks.
Parents can share the extension and the reduced unemployment benefits that are available to be paid out during this time.
The extension should be held right after the parental leave, and it cannot be delayed. You do not have the right to unemployment benefits during the extension, but you can choose to spread out the unemployment benefits from your parental leave and get reduced unemployment benefits during the whole period.
If you have the right to your salary during this period, it can be correspondingly reduced, since the employer only will get reimbursed the reduced amount.
The extension of the leave cannot be combined with a delay or partial resumption of work.
If you have the right to full salary from your employer during parental leave, you should ensure that your employer can get reimbursed during the whole period in which you have the right to salary. If you choose to extend your leave with extended unemployment benefits, you should notify the municipality that the unemployment benefits first should be reduced when the period with full salary is complete.
Resume work partially
Both parents can resume work partially throughout the entire leave. However, the mother can first do so two weeks after the child’s birth.
You can resume work with or without an extension of leave.
The leave is extended for the amount of time the work is resumed. For example, you can work half-time during a part of the leave and thereby hold your leave on a part-time basis, and extend the reduced unemployment benefits. If you have the right to salary, that salary will also be delayed and paid out when you resume your leave, on the condition that you are at the same employer.
If you make use of this possibility, you lose the right to extension and the rights-based delay of parental leave.
You can decide to resume work for, for example, one day a week (though at most 80 percent of the weekly work hours you had before the leave’s start). You lose the right to unemployment benefits for the days where you work, but on the other hand you can combine this model with an extension and delay.
If you are self-employed, the work can only be resumed for half of the normal working hours.
Particular for adoptive parents
Adoptive parents as a starting point have the same rights as biological parents. It is a condition that the one parent is at home. You can only earn the right to parental leave unemployment benefits if the adoption is approved during a period where you (as the adoptive parent) are entitled to unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits for adoptive parents are used for the first 14 weeks after the arrival of the child to one parent at a time, though the first two weeks can be held together. This requires however that the adoption is approved before the child is 14 weeks old.
Adopted child from abroad
Both parents have the right to leave from work and unemployment benefits for up to four weeks before the child’s arrival (the period can be increased by up to four weeks, if the trip takes longer).
When the formal conditions for when you can travel home with the child are met, the child is considered to have joined the family and you can get unemployment benefits for up to 46 weeks afterwards. Besides this, the typical rules for parental leave apply.
The rules only apply to adoptions that are carried out by a recognized organisation and when the organisation has given the message that the child is ready to be brought back.
Adopted child from Denmark
Both parents have the right to leave from work and can receive unemployment benefits for 1 week before the child joins the family. It requires though:
- That the child has not already stayed in your home
- That you are staying in same place where the child is staying
The day you bring the child home is considered to be before they join the family. The period can be extended for up to one extra week if the municipality believes there is a need for more time.