Parental leave enables parents to take time off work to look after their child. Parental benefit allows you as parent to be free from work and receive benefit over longer continuous periods, taking whole days or parts of days.
If you live and work in Sweden, you generally earn the right to parental benefit in Sweden. If you live in Sweden, but work in another Nordic country, you earn the right to parental benefit in the country in which you work.
Parental leave in connection with pregnancy, maternity, and adoption
In Sweden you are entitled to be completely free from your work when your child is born. You are entitled to this leave over a continuous period of at least seven weeks before the expected date of the birth, and seven weeks after the birth.
Until the child is 18 months old, you as parent are entitled to be completely free from your work.
Up until the child’s eighth birthday, or until they complete Year 1 of school, you as parent are entitled to be completely free from your work if you take parental leave. You are also entitled to reduce your working hours by up to one-quarter.
You are entitled to divide up your parental leave in a maximum of three periods in each calendar year. If you and your employer agree, you may divide up parental leave into more periods.
Apply for parental leave
You must inform your employer at least two months before you intend to take parental leave. At some workplaces, under the terms of collective agreements, parental leave may have to be notified earlier or later. Ask your employer to find out what applies in your case.
Income in connection with parental leave
You can receive parental benefit while you are on parental leave if you are covered by social insurance in Sweden and if the child resides in Sweden, or lives in the EU/EEA or Switzerland. Parental benefit is paid for 480 days for one child. Where there are two parents, each is paid for 240 days. If you have sole custody of the child, you are entitled to all 480 days.
For 390 of these days, parental benefit is based on your income. For the remaining 90 days, the benefit is the minimum level.
You are each entitled to 195 days at sickness benefit level, and 45 days each at the minimum level. You can divide up the days between you by transferring days to each other, but 90 days at sickness benefit level are reserved and cannot be transferred to the other parent.
There is a benefit calculation function (Kassakollen) on the website of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) where you can quickly and easily calculate your parental benefit.
How to apply for parental benefit
You must first register that you will be on leave from work and then apply to Försäkringskassan for parental benefit. You can both register and apply on the Försäkringskassan website if you have a Swedish electronic ID.
If your application is complete, the money will be paid within 30 days. The money is paid into your account on the 25th of every month.
Some companies offer a supplementary parental payment on top of the parental benefit from Försäkringskassan. Ask your employer about what they offer in connection with parental leave.
When you move to another Nordic country before or during parental leave
You normally earn your parental leave in the country in which you work.
Below, you can see what applies concerning Swedish parental benefit when you move to and from Sweden before and during your parental leave.
If you move to Sweden and are covered by social insurance in Sweden, you are entitled to parental benefit.
If you have received a benefit in another country that corresponds to Swedish parental benefit, the period of payment is deducted from the Swedish parental benefit.
If you move to Sweden after you have started to take parental leave, you should apply to take your parental benefit from your home country with you to Sweden.
Contact the social insurance agency in the country from which you are moving for information about whether you can receive your parental benefit when you live in Sweden.
If you receive parental benefit based on your income, you can take your Swedish parental benefit with you to another Nordic country after your parental leave has started, providing you continue to receive the benefit when you move.
If your parental benefit is paid at the minimum level and you move to another Nordic country, you cannot take Swedish parental benefit with you.
Parental leave when the family lives in Sweden and one or both parents work abroad
It is normally the country in which you are covered by social insurance that pays parental benefit, so if you live in Sweden and work in another Nordic country, it is the other Nordic country that will pay your parental benefit.
If you work and live in one country, while also working in another country, you are still covered by legislation in the country of residence on social insurance.
If you as parents work in different countries, you are entitled to parental leave in accordance with the regulations in the country in which you work. Days of parental leave are set off against each other. Parental leave that one parent takes in another Nordic country is deducted from the time the other parent takes in Sweden, or vice versa.
If you work in another Nordic country and take parental leave first, the parent taking parental leave in Sweden reports how much parental leave you have taken in the other Nordic country, so that Försäkringskassan can see how much parental leave your partner can take in Sweden.
If both parents work in another Nordic country, you are entitled to parental leave in accordance with the regulations in the country of work.
Who should you contact if you have questions?
Call the Försäkringskassan Customer Centre at +46 (0)771-524 524, or look on the Försäkringskassan website if you have questions about parental benefit or parental leave.
Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.