The youth factions of both parties of the ruling coalition have strongly objected to cuts proposed to maternity and paternity leave.
The proposed cuts would reduce the maximum maternity leave payments from 350,000 ISK to 300,000 ISK, and would also reduce the time off from nine months to eight, with the option to take the removed month after the child is a couple years old.
Vísir reports that the Young Social Democrats – belonging to the same party as Minister of Social Affairs Árni Páls Árnason, who proposed the cuts – issued a statement of protest, which reads in part, “The Young Social Democrats are aware that the times are difficult and it is necessary to make cuts, but we encourage MPs and ministers alike to stand guard of the welfare system,” adding that maternity and paternity leave in Iceland is the shortest of any of the Nordic countries.
The Young Leftist-Greens took their objections a step further, asking the proposal to be rejected outright, saying in part, “This change is especially harmful to single parents, and the board of the Young Leftist-Greens finds it strange that these parents would be asked to leave their five-month-old child with a day mother, when the World Health Organization encourages parents to breastfeed children until six months of age.”
The proposed cut is still up for debate, as a part of a larger budget-reducing bill.