The Legislation Behind Iceland’s Baby Culture - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Legislation Behind Iceland’s Baby Culture

The Legislation Behind Iceland’s Baby Culture

Published December 5, 2005

Portions of the rules and regulations for Child Welfare Payments in 2005, from the Director of the Internal Revenue:

Child welfare payments are paid for children up to 16 years of age. Payments for the year 2005 are made for children born between 1989 and 2004.

Full child welfare payments for married couples are:
With their first child: 126,952 ISK
With each additional child: 151,114 ISK
For children under seven years of age (not gauged by income): 37,397 ISK

Full child welfare payments for single parents are:
With their first child: 211,447 ISK
With each additional child: 216,902 ISK
For children under seven years of age (not gauged by income): 37,397 ISK

For married and co-habiting people a cut is calculated for an income in excess of 1,487,463 ISK and for single parents in excess of 743,732 ISK. One child reduces child welfare payments by 3% over these amounts; two children, by 7% and three or more by 9%

Child welfare payments are not taxed and do not need to be reported on an income tax report.

Excerpts from the Act on Maternity/Paternity Leave and Parental Leave
(Presented to the Alþingi at its 125th annual session, 1999–2000.)

Art. 7
SECTION IV
Maternity/Paternity Leave

Art. 8
Parents’ rights in the labour market
Under Art. 1, par. 1, parents shall each have an independent right to maternity/paternity leave of up to three months due to a birth, primary adoption or permanent foster care of a child. … In addition, parents shall have a joint right to three additional months, which may either be taken entirely by one of the parents or else divided between them. The right to maternity/paternity leave shall lapse when the child reaches the age of 18 months.

The right to maternity/paternity leave shall be established upon the birth of a child.

However, a woman shall be permitted to start her maternity leave up to one month prior to the expected birth date, which shall be confirmed by a medical certificate.

A woman shall take maternity leave for at least the first two weeks after the birth of her child….

Art. 10
The structure of maternity/paternity leave
Employees shall have the right to take maternity/paternity leave in a one continuous period. However, the employee shall be permitted to make arrangements with her/his employer for the maternity/paternity leave to be divided into a number of periods and/or that it will be taken concurrently with a reduced worktime ratio (cf., however, Art. 8, par. 3). However, maternity/paternity leave may never be taken in periods of less than one week at a time. The employer shall make efforts to meet the wishes of the employee regarding the structure of maternity/paternity leave under this provision.

…Should no agreement be reached between the employee and her/his employer on the taking of the employee’s maternity/paternity leave, the employee shall always have the right to take her/his maternity/paternity leave in one continuous period as of the starting date decided by the employee.

Art. 13
Parents’ rights to payments from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund
A parent (cf. Art. 1, par. 1) shall obtain the right to payments from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund after he/she has been active in the domestic labour market for six consecutive months prior to the first day of the maternity/paternity leave. A parent’s working time in other EEA countries shall be taken into account if the parent has been employed in Iceland for at least one month during the last six months prior to the first day of the maternity/paternity leave… The Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund’s monthly payment to an employee during maternity/paternity leave shall amount to 80% of her/his average wages during a 12-month consecutive period ending two months prior to the first day of the maternity/paternity leave….

SECTION VI
Parents not active in the labour market or attending full-time educational programmes

Art. 18
Maternity/paternity grants to parents who are not active in the labour market

Parents who are not active in the labour market, or who are employed in less than 25% of a full employment position, shall have an independent right to a maternity/paternity grant for up to three months each in connection with a birth, primary adoption or permanent foster care of a child…. In addition, parents shall have a joint right to a maternity/paternity grant for three additional months, which may be exercised entirely by one parent or divided between them. The right to a maternity/paternity grant shall lapse when the child reaches the age of 18 months.

Portions of the Child Protection Act no. 80/2002:
Section I Art. 99 Offences against children
Any person who inflicts punishments, threats or menaces upon a child, that may be expected to harm the child physically or mentally, is subject to fines or imprisonment for up to three years.

If a person incites a child to crime, promiscuity, use of alcohol or drugs, or leads the child astray by other means, this entails fines or imprisonment for up to four years.

Any person who subjects a child to aggressive, abusive or indecent behaviour or hurts or insults him/her is liable to fines or imprisonment for up to two years.

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