Working Mothers in Sweden

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 60.0 weeks
What percentage of the monthly salary does a worker get during maternity leave? 80  %
Who pays for maternity leave? Government
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? -
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? Yes
Does the law require parental leave for parents? Yes
Does the law provide for paid or unpaid parental leave? Paid
What is the total duration of parental leave? 480 days
What is the wage replacement rate for parental leave? 80 % of normal wage
Who pays for parental leave? Government
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? Yes

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.


More about maternity leave:

A female employee is entitled to full leave in connection with her child's birth during a continuous period of at least seven weeks prior to the estimated time for delivery and seven weeks after the delivery. If she is not on leave for another reason, two weeks of this maternity leave is obligatory during the period prior to or after the delivery. 

An employer is not under the obligation to pay employees during maternity leave. During the term of maternity leave, a female employee is however entitled to use part of her parental benefit entitlement (from 60 days ahead of expected date of childbirth).

From 60 days before the expected date of childbirth, pregnant employees who cannot carry out physically demanding work duties are entitled to be transferred to other work, without loss of pay. If a transfer is not reasonably practicable, employee is entitled to take leave, during which she receives a state pregnancy benefit, calculated in the same way as statutory sickness benefit. A similar right to transfer or leave applies to employees who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, and whose work is designated by the public health and safety authorities as entailing particular risks to the health of women in their condition.

Employees who have recently given birth are entitled to an unspecified period of unpaid time off to breastfeed the child.

There is no provision of pay during the 14 weeks leave (7-week pre-natal and 7-week post-natal leave). However, a pregnant worker is eligible for 60 days of benefit from her parental benefits before childbirth and this leave is paid at the rate of 77.6% of income. This payment is made through the social insurance funds.

More about parental leave:

The system of parental leave in Sweden includes maternity leave, full or partial parental leave in the period until a child reaches eight years of age, and leave for the temporary care of a sick child. The parental leave is managed by the Parental Leave Act while the regulations on parental benefit are found in National Insurance Act. Parental leave can be taken on full or part time basis and with or without parental benefits. However, regardless of the parental benefit, parents (one at a time) are entitled to full parental leave during the child’s first eighteen months and up to one quarter leave until the child is eight years old or has completed first year at school. There are 480 days of paid leave per family. 60 days are reserved for each parent (mother’s quota and father’s quota). The remaining 360 days are distributed equally between parents  however these can be transferred from one parent to another. In order to reduce the differences between mothers and fathers in exercise of parental leave, the government has proposed an amendment to the legislation which would increase the number of non-transferrable days (for each parent) to 90 from the currently 60 days.

Parents can also reduce their normal working hours by one-eighth to three quarters in the period until the child reaches eight years of age to the extent that they have entitlement to parental benefit. Employees wishing to take parental leave must give a notice to their employer at least two months before the intended date of start of leave or, in other circumstances, as soon as practicable. The parental leave, when taken as full days, must not cause a substantial disturbance to the employer’s activity.

Employer is not required to pay employees during parental leave. There is a statutory parental benefit. The total entitlement is 480 days per child (increased by 180 days per child in the case of multiple births).

The parental benefit for the first 390 days is equivalent to parent’s sickness benefit which is equal to 77.6% of the wages (maximum benefit during first 390 days is SEK 944). For the remaining 90 days, the payment is SEK 180 per day.

Source: The Parental Leave Act 1995