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No huge deal for Finns as protection chief takes paternity go away

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HELSINKI — Amid the most important regional safety disaster in many years, as Finland waits to affix NATO, the protection minister has chosen to assert almost two months of parental go away from his job.

And Finns aren’t batting an eyelid. Ditto their Nordic neighbors, who’re used to family-oriented social insurance policies and work-life stability.

Protection Minister Antti Kaikkonen, a 48-year-old father of two, makes a stirring argument for taking parental leaving beginning Jan. 6 to dedicate primarily to his 6-month-old son.

“Kids stay small just for a second, and I wish to bear in mind it in methods different than simply pictures,” Kaikkonen tweeted, assuring that Finland’s safety “might be in good palms.”

He later advised Finnish information company STT that “though ministerial duties are crucial to me, you’ve bought to have the ability to put household first sooner or later.”

The 5 Nordic international locations — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden — have made gender equality a high precedence of their insurance policies, and that features encouraging dads to spend extra time with their youngsters.

In Sweden, each dad and mom collectively obtain 480 days of parental go away per youngster, with every mother or father ready to make use of half — 240 — of these days, that are additionally transferable. Within the case of a number of births, an additional 180 days are granted for every extra youngster.

In September, Finland launched a gender-neutral parental go away system permitting each dad and mom to take 160 days of paid go away every and to switch a specific amount of days between one another.

High male politicians within the Nordic states have made use of their paternal go away rights to a sure extent nevertheless it’s nonetheless not frequent observe.

In Denmark, Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen started a two-month paternity go away in late 2020, saying that his son “has largely seen his father on TV.” Others in Denmark to take action embody the previous ministers of immigration, Mattias Tesfaye, and tradition, Pleasure Mogensen.

In Finland, former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, a trailblazer in combining politics and fatherhood, took paternal go away within the distant 1998, albeit for a a lot shorter interval. Lipponen, now 81, obtained loads of constructive protection in worldwide media for his household preparations.

Past the Ukraine warfare and rumblings from neighboring Russia, the Finnish protection minister’s transfer additionally comes at a politically delicate time: Finland faces a common election in early April, and its NATO accession is in limbo primarily as a consequence of resistance from alliance member Turkey — which claims Finland and neighboring NATO candidate Sweden should first deal with its issues over alleged actions of Kurdish militants within the two international locations.

The parliaments of Turkey and Hungary have but to ratify Finland and Sweden’s purposes. The 28 different NATO states have already finished so.

Finland’s main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat mentioned in an editorial that the nation is prone to be part of NATO solely after the brand new authorities has taken workplace, and took a constructive observe on Kaikkonen’s go away, saying it contained “a message to society.”

“Observers exterior Finland might not solely be shocked but in addition sympathize with the truth that the protection minister can take paternity go away proper now. At the least it exhibits that there’s no panic in Finland,” Helsingin Sanomat mentioned.

Emilia Kangas, a researcher on equality, work and household points at Seinajoki College of Utilized Sciences, mentioned Finland has seen a considerable change in attitudes each within the company world and in politics over the previous decade towards favoring parenthood that’s equally divided between father and mom.

Kaikkonen’s paternity go away “tells a lot about our (Nordic) values and welfare society,” Kangas mentioned.

Paternity go away has change into frequent within the Nordic company world.

“I do encourage everybody in efforts to take time without work when children are small,” mentioned Antti Hakkarainen, a accomplice at monetary consultancy KPMG Advisory Providers in Helsinki. A father of three boys, he took eight months of go away in 2007.

“That point has been one of many highlights of my life to this point,” he mentioned.

Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.

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