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New collective agreement: Major improvement for maternity/paternity leave

Paid maternity/paternity leave for fathers and co-mothers to increase from 16 to 26 weeks according to the new collective agreement.

7. Mar 2023
4 min
English / Dansk

“This is definitely one of the most attractive maternity/paternity leave schemes,” says chairman Kent Petersen about the new collective agreement.

Maternity/paternity leave for fathers and co-mothers increases from 16 weeks to 26 weeks with full pay. These improvements also apply to co-adopters.

If this collective agreement is adopted by the up-coming ballot, the new rules will apply to parents of children born after 1 April 2023.

“This would be amazing in an industry where there is a general consensus to make an effort to ensure the best possible options for all parents, whether or not you are the one giving birth,” says Kent Petersen, President of Finansforbundet.

This was an important aspect for both sides of the table, Finansforbundet and the Danish Employers' Association for the Financial Sector (FA), that parents should enjoy the same conditions with the result that both parents are now equally entitled to salary when on maternity/paternity leave.
“This agreement indicates that both parties must take their share of the responsibility although the individual choice is maintained that each family make their own arrangements,” explains Kent Petersen.

The new option offering 26 weeks of full pay during maternity/paternity leave does not alter the parents’ mandatory right to transfer 13 weeks of leave with leave benefits to the other parent. 

Facts about the new collective agreement.

The right to paternity/maternity leave of fathers and co-mothers is improved, increasing the weeks of paternity/maternity leave with full pay from 16 to 26 weeks. These improvements also apply to co-adopters.

These new rules apply to parents of children born after 1 April 2023.

From 1 January 2024, these rules will also apply to parents with an intended parent-like relationship with the child – primarily LBGT+ families who with the current legislation are granted the right to maternity/paternity leave.

Slow progress

Kent Petersen emphasises that the option to split the leave more equally is of significance to the question of equality.

“Your career is affected when you are away from work for a longer period of time,” he says.
He does realise that making 26 weeks of leave available does not mean that everybody will make use of this option.

According to figures from Statistics Denmark, bank-employed fathers with children born in 2020 took 9.8 weeks of paternity leave. A far cry from the 16 weeks of paid leave which the collective agreement awarded in 2020.

As a measure of comparison, new fathers in other parts of the labour market took a mere 6.4 weeks of paternity leave that year.

“We know that fathers will take longer paternity leaves when their options are better, but change takes time. It takes time to alter set cultural patterns. With the 26 weeks, we have opened up the opportunity to move in the right direction,” says Kent Petersen.

Flexible maternity/paternity leave

  • According to legislation, both parents are entitled to 24 weeks of leave with leave benefits after the birth.
  • Consequently, if a mother or a father/co-mother who is covered by the standard collective agreement wants to take all 26 weeks of leave with salary, as they are entitled to, the other parent will have to transfer 2 weeks of leave with leave benefits to that parent.
  • However, transfer of the leave benefits is not an issue since each of the parents can transfer up to 13 of the 24 weeks of maternity leave with leave benefits to the other parent.
  • As another result of this transfer option, planning the maternity leave continues to be highly flexible for the parents.

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