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A Model for Family Support, Social Welfare, and Closing the Gap with the United States

Main image to the post A Model for Family Support, Social Welfare, and Closing the Gap with the United States

Sweden's Groundbreaking Grandparent Leave Law

Sweden has implemented a groundbreaking law allowing grandparents to receive paid parental leave to care for their grandchildren during the child's first year. This significant expansion of Sweden's social welfare system allows parents to transfer some of their generous parental leave allowances to grandparents.

The Swedish parliament approved the law in December. It permits a parent couple to transfer up to 45 days of their parental leave to grandparents, while single parents can transfer up to 90 days. This policy reinforces Sweden's commitment to supporting families and reflects a society prioritizing care from cradle to grave.

In stark contrast, the United States lacks a national paid maternity leave policy. The Family and Medical Leave Act offers eligible American workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave annually, but it is unpaid. While 13 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have established paid family leave programs, these typically offer about three months of leave, far less than Sweden's benefits.

Experts highlight the limitations in the U.S., noting that even in states with paid leave, the benefits are not transferable to grandparents unless they act as the child's parent. Sweden's example shows how far behind the U.S. is in supporting families.

Alexandra Wallin of Sweden's Social Insurance Agency explained that the new law aims to provide "greater opportunities" for families. The requirements for grandparents to receive parental allowance are similar to those for parents, ensuring most Swedes are covered.

This move is a significant step forward for Sweden's social welfare system and provides a valuable model for other countries to consider. It demonstrates a commitment to supporting families and ensuring that children receive the best possible care during their early years.

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Round userpic of the post author Stan Marsh
Esquire
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May 21, 2023 | 05:09