Male and female recipients of the child home care allowance
The goal of sharing family leaves more equally between men and women is part of efforts aimed at greater gender equality. The fact that family leaves are taken predominantly by women produces gender inequality for example in the labour market. This being the case, the paternity leave reforms introduced in Finland over the last several years have focused on strengthening fathers' role and participation in parenting.
Women account for the majority of child home care allowance recipients. In 2017, the allowance was paid to 93,900 women and 7,200 men. Men accounted for 7.1% of total recipients. The share of men among the recipients has increased slightly in recent years. In 1998 they accounted for 4.8% of the recipients of child home care allowance.
The share of children for whom child home care allowance is paid has declined in the 2000s. At the end of the year 2000, the allowance was being paid for 58% of the children under three years of age whose parents no longer were eligible for maternity, paternity or parental allowance. At the end of 2017, the corresponding percentage was 45%.
The child home care allowance is available to parents of children under three who do not attend municipal day care. The period of eligibility begins as soon as payment of the maternity, paternity or parental allowance ends, at which point children are typically about nine months old. Home care allowance can also be paid for children aged 3 years or over if the family includes a qualifying child under age 3. The allowance is paid to the child's parent or other custodian. The person looking after the child at home can be one of the parents or some other caregiver, such as a relative.