Swedish government wants extra holidays for parents
Sweden's ruling Social Democrats want to grant all parents of children aged four to sixteen five extra days of paid holiday per year. Parents are to use these days to take care of their children during school holidays, the idea being that the measure would mainly benefit workers who can't afford private daycare. How much sense does the plan make?
Good that working-class families benefit
Aftonbladet approves of the fact that above all working-class families stand to benefit from the measure:
“The average Swedish primary school is closed for five so-called continuing education days each school year. ... Add to that the various school holidays and it's clear that these parents don't have enough holidays to cover these days off. ... Office workers can sometimes work at home, or bring their kids to work. For construction workers, restaurant employees, warehouse workers or healthcare workers it's not so easy. Nurses can't rush home after lunch just because the kindergarten is closing. Working-class families - whose busy timetables no one has bothered about for a long time - have most reason to be glad about this proposal.”
Clever electoral strategy but a bad policy
The government's initiative can be criticised in many respects, Expressen counters:
“The plan to give each parent five days off shows that in principle this is about an extra week of holiday per parent. Single parents would have to make do with one week. ... So their children would have to spend an extra week in the school daycare facility each year. ... From the point of view of election tactics, the initiative is probably a clever one. The Social Democrats are targeting the broad middle class with surgical precision. But as a policy this is a dreadful idea. ... The 'family weeks' would lead to Swedish parents working less, meaning that the already acute labour shortage would grow worse.”