Parental gender benefit gap at lowest ever levels
Text Mark Taylor Photo John-Mark Smith / Unsplash
According to Statistics Estonia, in 2021, the average monthly parental benefit was 1,205 euros for women and 1,463 euros for men. Last year, a total of 38,882 persons received parental benefits, a third of whom were men.
Year on year, the number of men receiving parental benefits has almost doubled. “The number of men receiving parental benefit has been steadily rising in recent years. In 2018, men represented a tenth of the recipients of parental benefit, while in 2021, a third of the recipients of this benefit were men,” explained Anet Müürsoo, a leading analyst at Statistics Estonia.
The difference in the average amount of parental benefit paid to male and female recipients has also diminished over time. Last year, the parental benefit gender gap was 17.6%, which is about 10 percentage points lower than in 2020.
The average amount of parental benefit paid decreased by 154 euros among male recipients and increased by 36 euros among female recipients. This is also the reason for the record-low level of the parental benefit gender gap,” Müürsoo added.
In 2021, paternity leave was used by nearly 75% of the fathers entitled to it, this is about 15% more than in 2020.
Fathers are entitled to a benefit of 30 calendar days which can be used up to 30 calendar days before the estimated date of birth of the child until the child attains three years of age. All fathers are entitled to the paternity benefit, including men without employment. Previously, non-working fathers were not paid the parental benefit.
“From 1 July 2020, the paternity benefit is paid to fathers, and the recipients of the paternity benefit are included in the data for 2020 and 2021. This affects the number and share of fathers and the average amount of parental benefit in comparison with previous years, and it explains the sudden increase in the share of fathers among recipients of the parental benefit,” Müürsoo concluded.