Speed Reading — Maternity Leave - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Finland is giving new parents more time to spend with their babies. The Finnish government has decided to give mothers and fathers seven months of parental leave. This means Finland will almost double the amount of its maternity leave and paternity leave. The new Family Leave Policy will give 164 days to each parent. This is about seven months. Parents can also transfer up to 69 of their own days to their partner. This means it is possible for one parent to take nine months of parental leave. For single parents, Finland is giving all 328 days to the mother or father. Finland's current parental leave gives four months for maternity leave, and two months for fathers.

Finland's government said the new rules were necessary to help young families. Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health explained why the country is introducing the new rules. She said: "The model guarantees the child a place at the centre of family benefits, and it promotes wellbeing and gender equality." It will also help to increase the country's declining birth rate. The number of babies born in Finland has dropped for the past nine years. Last year, Finland had the lowest number of babies born in the country since 1868. Finland's neighbour Sweden has the most generous leave policy, offering 240 days per parent. The USA has no national paid leave for mothers or fathers.

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