One Photographer Documents Sweden's Amazing Leave Policies
When Swedish freelance photographer Johan Bävman had a son, he decided to take a deeper look at his country’s extremely generous parental leave policies. No other country offers 480 days of paid leave, with an allowance from the State. Of those days, 60 must be taken by the father. (The country recently added a third month that fathers can either use or lose.) It even goes beyond that, Bävman explained. “In order to promote a more equal sharing of parental leave between men and women, a so called ‘equality bonus’ has also been introduced. The more days that are shared between parents, the higher the bonus.”
Despite this unique policy, Bävman found that he had a difficult time finding literature or resources written for him specifically as a father, and he also found that only a fraction of fathers actually took the same amount of time as mothers.“I thought it was going to be easy to find fathers who had shared the insurance days equally with their partners. It wasn't, only 12 percent have been taking this opportunity. ... I hope my project can plant a seed for dads in Sweden and in other countries—to think of what it would mean for yourself, your child, and for your relationship to stay home with your infant for a long period of time.”
Bävman is looking for a total of 60 fathers to photograph, to symbolize the 60 days of parental leave they’re allowed in Sweden, and eventually wants to turn this project into an exhibit and a book.
[tnr-photo style="centered-inline-with-caption" src="http://wp.newrepublic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Swedish_Dads09-624x832.jpg" width="624" height="832" lightbox="http://wp.newrepublic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Swedish_Dads09.jpg"]Nils Jarlsbo, 33, graphic designer and illustrator, with baby Bibi. Jarlsbo shares equal parental leave with his partner. "I'm on paternity leave because I can. Getting paid to be with my child is one of our civilization's highest peaks [...] At the same time it is a difficult job to be at home and have full responsibility, often with the result of ruined sleep."[/tnr-photo]