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Equality - 04.10.2022 klo 11.17

Equality in pay during family leave through local agreements

For PAM, the equal right to pay during family leave is a key issue to improve equality at work. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Family leave laws were reformed to increase equality. PAM was disappointed, that an agreement about pay during family leave could not be reached with the employers’ federations. Now the sight is on agreements at the company level to give both parents equal standing.

The family leave reform gives parents longer family leave that can be used more flexibly. The new law guarantees parents an equal right to take leave from work and to get Kela’s daily allowance. But the right to salary during family leave is negotiated in collective agreements. This poses a challenge to the realisation of the spirit of reform in the use of family leave in the workplace.

PAM and the employers’ federations did not reach agreement on how to put parents on an equal footing as to pay during family leave. Thus, the issue is left to the fallback clause in the collective agreement. PAM considers that provision to be contrary to the objectives of the reform.

“PAM’s position has always been, that parents must be treated equally in terms of family leave, as was the objective of the reform. The provision of the fallback clause puts the other parent at a material disadvantage compared to the parent who gives birth. The situation is unsustainable, if we are to achieve the objectives of the reform," says PAM president Annika Rönni-Sällinen.

You can always agree on better terms locally

Because the negotiations on how to implement the family leave reform into the collective agreements failed, the sights now turn to businesses. PAM aims to find solutions through local agreements with companies. Staff representatives are central to local negotiations.

For PAM, equal right to pay during family leave is an essential element of equality at work. This is an issue where employers through local agreements can walk the talk, as gender equality is explicitly mentioned as an important value in many companies’ strategies.

Text:: Eemeli Peltonen