The Social Democrats have submitted a bill to Parliament which would, if passed, lengthen Iceland’s parental leave period from nine months to twelve.
As it stands now, parental leave in Iceland is a total of nine months long; three months for the mother, three months for the father, and the remaining three months to be split between them as they wish. The new bill would if passed give each parent five months paid leave, and a remaining two months to share.
Part of the reasoning behind the bill is that municipalities around the country have been having difficulties bridging the gap between when parental leaves end and when slots in playschool open up. The bill would help bridge that gap by giving these facilities more time to make room for new children.
The idea has come up before. As the bill points out, the Social Democrat-led government of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir introduced such legislation at the end of 2012. However, the government which followed, comprised of the Independence Party and the Progressives, killed the effort in 2013.
The matter came up again when the Ministry of Welfare introduced a similar proposal in 2016, with the addition of increased payouts to parents.
The current bill, if passed, would go into effect on January 1, 2019.
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