New parents in Finland will have more time to spend with their babies. The government decided to give mothers and fathers seven months of parental leave. This is almost double the amount of its maternity and paternity leave. The new policy will give 164 days to each parent - about seven months. Parents can also give up to 69 of their days to their partner. This means one parent could take nine months of leave. Single parents will get all 328 days. Finland's current parental leave gives four months for maternity leave, and two months for fathers.
Finland said the new rules were needed to help families. The Minister of Social Affairs and Health explained the importance of the new rules. She said they put the child "at the centre of family benefits, and promote wellbeing and gender equality". It will also reverse falling birth rates. Births in Finland dropped for the past nine years. Last year saw the lowest number of babies born in the country since 1868. Finland's neighbour Sweden has the most generous leave. It offers 240 days per parent. The USA has no national paid leave for mothers or fathers.