Attention to paid parental leave and equal treatment of men and women after the family leave reform in Finland

A recent statement by the Finnish Equality Ombudsman reminds all employers of their obligation to grant men and women equal treatment in terms of paid parental leave regardless of whether the applicable collective bargaining agreement has been amended after the recent family leave reform in Finland.

The Finnish family leave reform came into effect on 1 August 2022. The purpose of the reform was to strengthen non-discrimination and equality in working life by allocating parental leave rights and care responsibilities more equally between the parents – as a result, both parents are now entitled to an equal amount of parental leave under the law.

An employer must treat its employees equally in terms of granting paid parental leave to men and women. Under Finnish law, the employer is not obliged to pay the employee any salary during their period of parental leave, but it is common practice that paid parental leave is granted to employees based on the applicable collective bargaining agreement or company policy.

As the employer is responsible for the equal treatment of its employees, applying a provision in a collective bargaining agreement or applying a company policy that would, for example, entitle a mother, in addition to paid pregnancy leave, to three months of paid parental leave and a father to two weeks of paid leave, could be deemed discriminatory in the light of the new legislation.

Therefore, it is recommended that employers review their family leave policies and make necessary changes in order to comply with the requirement to treat men and women equally.


Mari Mohsen 
Principal Associate
Janne Nurminen 
Counsel, Employment
Jenna Helenius