A host of federal policies aim to support parents’ abilities to spend time with their families and achieve a sense of work-family balance.
reduce their normal working hours by up to 25 percent (with a proportionate decrease in pay) until their child reaches the age of 8. On the other hand, the United States has no national work-family policy to support caregiving.
Child care and preschool are synonymous in Sweden—it’s considered a universal entitlement. Municipalities provide preschool and school-age child care services with a strong pedagogical focus for all children ages 1–12. Roughly 99 percent of Swedish child care staff are trained to work with children. Full-time preschool costs are calculated based on income. Low-income families pay nothing. Costs for wealthier families are capped at SEK 1,382 (approximately U.S.$150 a month. These fees cannot amount to more than 3 percent of net household income). Parents’ contributions cover roughly 10 percent of the total cost of child care, with the rest covered by the state, which spends more subsidizing preschool services than it does on its defense budget.
Parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopte
Some portion of this leave is used by virtually all mothers and 9 out of 10 fathers. Single parents receive all 480 days of leave. In comparison, the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without federally mandated paid parental leave.
an “equal opportunity bonus” (jämställdhetsbonus) was added to Sweden’s parental leave legislation from 2008–16.
Sweden’s parental leave policies and reforms have increased men’s share of total parental leave days: In the mid-1970s, men used less than 1 percent of these days, and in 2010, they used roughly 23 percent.
right to paid time away from work regardless of whether they have a new baby at home. While the U.S. has no federal minimum vacation days for workers, employees in Sweden are entitled to 25 days’ minimum paid vacation, with some employees receiving more as a result of union agreements.