The government has indefinitely shelved plans to reform parental leave over insufficient funding for the measure, according to the daily Helsingin Sanomat.
Family and Social Services Minister Annika Saarikko told the paper that the reform would have required additional appropriations. Since no additional financing was earmarked for the changes, the minister decided to put the measure on ice.
The move to roll back the proposed reforms means that fathers will not be entitled to a greater share of parental leave.
“I am sorry and disappointed. This hasn’t been for lack of effort. After months of trying I simply came to the conclusion that from the perspective of families, there could not be better reform without additional funding,” Saarikko told Yle on Friday afternoon.
Blues: We want to promote family equality
Soon after the news broke, Finance Minister and National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo tweeted support for continued efforts to find a solution.
“The NCP wants to continue finding a solution for parental leave. Such an important matter cannot just be abandoned,” he wrote.
Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen also weighed in.
“[It’s] such an important reform that the NCP wants to move forward. I want the [government] trio to still review this and for the government to work with labour market organisations on parental leave reform during the current government’s term,” she said to Yle.
The Finns Party offshoot Blue Reform, which is still a government partner, noted that thorough work had already been done to change the current system.
Party chair Sampo Terho also took to Twitter to hope that the measure would be revived.
The Blues parliamentary group chair Simon Elo said that the party wanted to move the division of labour within families in a more gender-equal direction. The party had lobbied to double fathers’ share of voluntary parental leave to more than 100 working days.
According to Elo, increased costs were not a significant factor in the planned reform.