A financial incentive to get men to take more paternity leave has been dropped by the government in next year’s budget.
Parents are given 52 weeks of leave following the birth of their child, 32 of which can be shared between mother and father as they see fit.
Few fathers were taking the opportunity, however, and before the 2011 election the government campaigned to set aside 13 of these weeks strictly for the father.
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Tax bonus for dads
Disagreements within the government led to this plan being dropped in September in favour of a financial incentive to encourage men to take more time off.
The plan was to give the parent who takes the least amount of leave – normally the father – a 100 kroner tax deduction for every day of leave they take, so long as they take a minimum four weeks off.
But this too, however, will fail to become reality due to a lack of support from the right-wing parties Venstre and Konservative, the two parties who reached a budget agreement with the government after negotiations with Enhedslisten fell through.
In an email to DR Nyheder, the employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (S), wrote that the tax bonus was dropped after Enhedslisten withdrew from the negotiations.
“The government still wants more fathers to take leave," she said. "Independently of the budget negotiations and on the suggestion of unions, we have examined the opportunities for introducing more paid leave for fathers during the negotiations of collective bargaining agreements."
The union FTF said it was disappointed by the government’s decision.
“We weren’t very keen on the tax bonus as a replacement for the right [to earmarked paternal leave] but it was a step in the direction of more equality,” chairman Bente Sorgenfrey told Ekstra Bladet.
Father’s association Foreningen Far was also saddened by the news.
“We can only shake our head,” chairman Jesper Lohse told Ritzau. “The government isn’t introducing earmarked parental leave, which we supported. And the tax bonus wouldn’t have worked anyways.”
He added that Frederiksen’s new proposal, to secure more paternal leave through collective bargaining agreements, is also a poor idea as it wouldn’t help those not employed through such agreements.
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