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Perhevapaat

Family leave

Published28.11.2022
When a child is born to a family, the parents are entitled to family leave, i.e. to stay at home and look after the child.

The laws on family leave changed on 1 August 2022. If the child’s due date is 4 September 2022 or later, the new laws on the parents’ family leave apply. If the child’s expected date of birth  was before 4 September 2022, the old laws on family leave apply. This page provides information about family leave under the new laws. 

This page describes family leave for employees. Information on benefits paid for the time of family leave is available on the InfoFinland page Financial support for families.

Family leave means

  • pregnancy leave and special pregnancy leave
  • parental leave
  • child care leave.

Notify your employer of your family leave at least two months before your leave starts. If you are unemployed, notify the TE services or your municipality’s employment services of your family leave.

The employer often pays the employee salary during the first weeks of pregnancy or family leave. No salary is paid for child care leave. However, family leave may also be entirely unpaid leave. Whether or not you are paid salary during your family leave depends on your collective agreement. Check the matter with your employer.

If you are entitled to Kela benefits, Kela will pay you allowance for the duration of your family leave. Read more on the InfoFinland page Financial support for families.

When your family leave has ended, you have the right to return to your own work or to comparable work in your old workplace. You must not be discriminated against or dismissed for being pregnant.

Employers and employees in Finland are very familiar with family leave, and it is commonly utilised.

Pregnancy leave

The pregnancy leave lasts for 40 working days. It usually begins 30 weekdays before the child’s due date. Pregnancy leave must be started at least 14 weekdays before the due date.

If you are in a work where your baby’s health or your own health is endangered, you can take special pregnancy leave as soon as your pregnancy is established.

Kela can pay pregnancy allowance for the period of pregnancy leave if you are not paid salary for the period of pregnancy leave. Read more on the InfoFinland page Support during pregnancy.

Parental leave

Once the child has been born, you are entitled to take parental leave. Both parents are entitled to parental leave.

Only one parent at a time can take parental leave. Parents can, however, take 18 working days of parental leave or pregnancy and parental leave at the same time.

The parental leave lasts for 320 working days, i.e. approximately 14 months. If the child has two parents, both of them are entitled to 160 working days’ leave. The parent may give up a maximum of 63 parental leave days to the child’s other parent. The person to whom the days are turned over is entitled to parental leave for those days. A single parent can use all the 320 working days.

If you are an employee, you have the right to take parental leave in up to four periods. A period must be at least 12 working days. The parental leave periods must be taken before the child turns two.

An employee may also be on parental leave part-time.

Kela pays pregnancy allowance for the period of pregnancy leave if you are not paid salary for the period of pregnancy leave. Read more on the InfoFinland page Benefits for a family after a child is born.

Child care leave

If you want to stay at home to take care of your child after your parental leave, you can take child care leave. You can stay on child care leave until the child turns three. You can start child care leave when 160 days (about six months) have passed from the child’s birth.

If you are an employee, you have the right to four child care leave periods at the most. One child care leave period must last for at least a month. An employer and employee may also agree on more or shorter periods of child care leave periods between themselves.

You can get child home care allowance from Kela for the duration of the leave. Read more on the InfoFinland page Benefits for looking after a child at home.

Partial child care leave

Child care leave can also be part-time. An employer and employee can agree on partial child-care leave. This means working shorter hours and being paid correspondingly less. It is also possible for both parents to take partial child care leave, for example, so that one works in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You can stay on partial child care leave until your child completes the second year of school.

You can apply for flexible care allowance from Kela to look after a child who is under the age of three and partial care allowance to look after a child who is at grade 1 or 2 at school. Flexible care allowance is not granted for looking after a child who has turned three but is not yet in school.

Read more about flexible and partial child care allowance on the InfoFinland page Benefits for looking after a child at home.