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Why do the provisions on parental allowances need to be revised?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
26.11.2015 13.05
News item

A working group appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health examined the family benefits available to different types of families. In a video interview, Ministerial Advisor Pekka Humalto explains the different types of families there are and the proposals that the working group presented.

Link to video interview:

Transcript of interview

What was the mandate of the working group?

"The working group for multiform families appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health examined the statutes governing parental allowances under the Health Insurance Act from the viewpoint of multiform families. Single parent families, non-custodial parents, adoptive families, multiple-birth families and rainbow families are all multiform families.

The provisions on parental allowances under the Health Insurance Act date back to a time when the main form of family was one where there is a father, a mother and a child. Over time, families have become much more diversified and legislation has been amended piece by piece so that it takes into account these different forms of families, but the premise in legislation is still that a family consists of a father, a mother and a child who all live together, and that the father and mother have their own benefits linked to gender."

What conclusion did the working group reach?

The working group concluded that the parity of parents and their possibilities to be involved in parenting are not fully met under existing legislative provisions, and for this reason the working group has made a number of proposals to amend provisions governing parental allowances.

What does the working group propose?

"The working group submitted a number of proposals, as I said, to make amendments to existing parental allowance provisions. And in the discussions we had, it was agreed that we should not raise any one question above the rest. But I think I may disclose that one of the biggest drawbacks is that custodial fathers who are raising their child alone are not entitled to parental allowances at all if they have not been married or in cohabitation with the child's mother. This is a serious flaw that should be rectified."

And what’s next?

"The working group made concrete suggestions on how to amend the provisions governing parental allowances. Certain flaws have been detected. The working group naturally hopes that these will be corrected. The working group's report is not entirely unanimous, but the majority believe that the amendments should be made. The matters will be decided on a tripartite basis consisting of labour market parties, and the working group's report will serve as a basis for promoting these matters in later decision-making stages.  "

Interview and video: Kimmo Vainikainen


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