Finland just gave fathers 7 months of paid family leave while 85% of all Americans still get zero

The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a federal paid family leave policy.

The Family Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, says that employers must let new parents take up to 12 weeks off, but there is no guarantee of getting paid.


Currently, the District of Columbia and nine states have laws offering paid family leave, Washington, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon.

New laws in Connecticut and Oregon are waiting to go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics said that just 15% of private industry, and state and local government workers had access to paid family leave as of March 2017.

Paid family leave has been a big issue among the 2020 Democratic candidates with most favoring up to 12 weeks.

President Trump called for paid family leave in his State of the Union Address, but his plan is misleading. It allows new parents to collect a portion of their future child tax credits early in exchange for smaller payments down the road.

While people in the United States are fighting for this basic family need, the people of Finland are working to strengthen their programs for both mothers and fathers. Finland's woman-led center-left government has decided to give new fathers seven months of paid family leave, the same number allowed for women.

Women in Finland also get a paid month off at the end of their pregnancies.

Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonenvia YLE puhe / Twitter

Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said that the "radical reform" was created to increase the country's declining birth rate and to create greater gender equality.

"This enables better equality between parents and diversity among families," she continued.

"Over a longer term, it also improves equality in working life and in wages by directing fathers to use a larger proportion of parental leaves than before," she said.

Sweden goes even further with family leave than Finland.

The Swedish government says that parents of both sexes are entitled to 16 months of paid family leave at 80% of their salaries. Plus, there are extra days added if the parents have twins.

Dads are required to take some of the 480 days allotted to the family and the paid days don't expire until the child is eight years old.

The difference in how Finland and the United States treats their citizens says a lot about the country's values as a whole. We hear a lot about "family values" from politicians in America, but things would be a lot different if they actually valued family.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Keep Reading Show less