BSRB, the Federation of State and Municipal Employees, has asked Minister of Social Affairs Árni Páll Árnason to reconsider a budget-saving measure that would cut maternity and paternity leave payments to parents.
The Icelandic government grants parents nine months’ leave after a child is born – three months for the mother, three months for the father, and the remaining three months to be divided between the two. According to the proposed budget change, the maximum payment given would be reduced from 350,000 ISK to 300,000. At the same time, the payments would be reduced from 75% of the monthly salary for those making more than 200,000 per month, as opposed to 80% now.
Vísir reports that BSRB has communicated to the minister that Iceland’s child support payments has gained international attention over the years, and is considered by many to be a model system, expressing concern that such cuts would turn back the clock. The Women’s Rights Society of Iceland also voiced protest, saying that the cuts could mean fewer fathers will accept paternity leave, opting instead to continue working. This, in turn, could mean fewer women return to the workforce, having little choice but to stay home with their newborn children.
The proposed budget cut is still in rough draft form, as part of a greater finance bill.
(Photo: Ministry of Social Affairs home site)