Paternity leave schemes in Denmark and Iceland are among the most generous in the world – and new statistics prove the benefits to society, experts say.
Last year, nearly all Icelandic fathers used their entitlement to three months off work on 80% of their salary.
The new paternity law came into effect in 2002. Iceland now has Europe’s second highest birth rate after Turkey.
More Danish men are taking paternity leave now – 46,000 in 2004. New parents can share a year of paid leave there.
In 2004, Danish fathers spent an average of 3.6 weeks off work with their babies, compared with the mothers’ average of 42.3 weeks.
Not only have divorce rates gone down, but it seems that when fathers take a more active role in raising the first child, the couple is more likely to be more stable in general and to have more children. Not that the world needs more babies, but family stability is a nice thing. As is the idea that fathers might take an active role in raising their children and be happy and proud to do it! And be recognised by society as doing a good thing!
I dream big. What can I say?