Sunday, 12 July 2009

Finnish Society

Finnish society has long adhered to an egalitarian philosophy.  Welfare spending for Finland makes up more than 40% of the GDP.  The government spends money on unemployment benefits, education, pensions, health care, and social services.  Although high compared to its OECD counterparts, Finland's spending on social welfare is on an even level to that of other Nordic countries.  The Welfare State adheres to a philosophy of early intervention in order to preempt more severe or chronic problems later.  

Finland has long provided women with excellent rights.  Finnish women first earned the right to vote in 1906, the first in Europe, and the high proportion of women in parliament also reflects a society of liberated women.  In fact, the first parliament in 1906 had nineteen women.  Today (2009) Finland has a female president, Tarja Halonen.  

Finland has a very generous maternity program.  Mothers-to-be choose between a cash payment or a package of baby clothing, bottles, and other accessories for a newborn baby.  

Click here for pictures of the 2009 baby package! 

Mothers are allowed 105 days maternity leave (not including weekends or national holidays) at 80% of the original salary.  

Fathers can take between 1 and 18 days paternity leave.  

Combined parental leave allows 158 days of parental leave, shared between the mother and father.  The baby should be around nine months old when parental leave ends.  

Parents of multiple-birth children can take leave at the same time and have extended parental leave.  

Adoptive parents have the same rights as biological parents.  Children adopted from abroad have the same rights as adopted Finnish children.  

Parents whose children are not in municipal day care may claim child home care or private care allowance.  

Click here for more information about these social services.  

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