• Meet the 'latte pappas': The Swedish men who stay home to look after the children
Sweden is the land of the stay at home dad and if you walk the streets of Stockholm you are bound to spot them. The Feed speaks with one Aussie dad who says he has it so good in Sweden he wouldn’t live back home.
Airdate: 
Monday, May 12, 2014 - 19:30
Channel: 
SBS Two

They're known as the latte pappas - the thousands of Swedish men who each year take substaintial leave to help with the rearing of their children while mums return to work.

Andrew Gillard is an Australian father who is living in Sweden with his wife Sara and their three children.

Andrew and Sara's first two children were born in Australia with the third born in Sweden.

Sweden has some of the most progressive social policies in the world and since the 1970s the Swedish government has made it possible for both parents to take time off with pay to raise their kids.

"Here in Sweden the parental leave is a right, it's a law," says Andrew. "It's basically the parents who decide who's going to be the one to stay at home."

"You do get a lot of dad's who are basically pushing prams around."

Swedish parents receive a generous 480 days paid leave per child that’s around 68 weeks paid at 80 per cent replacement wage.

The leave is shared between the parents and fathers must take at least two months.

This means every dad - from top CEOs to janitors - take substantial time off to share parenting responsibilities.

Andrew says it's not uncommon to see a lot of young fathers looking after their children in a local cafe.

"You probably wouldn't see the same thing happening in Australia," says Andrew. "You've got four or five guys all around 30 years old pushing a pram, going into a cafe, and having a latte."

"It'd probably look quite strange if you were doing that in suburban Melbourne for example."


Sweden’s policy has been in place since the 70s and the impact is significant - about 80 per cent of Swedish mothers work, compared to just over 60 per cent in Australia.

Abbott’s proposed Paid Parental Leave will give mothers 26 weeks paid leave at full salary capped at $100,000 dollars.

It allows for just 2 weeks out of the 26 to be taken by the father at his full replacement wage up to $150,000.

Damien Arnup is a stay-at-home dad in Australia who decided to be a full-time parent because his wife has the ability to earn more.

He says paid parental leave is really important for new parents who need to spend time with their children.

"Speaking to some people and their like 'oh it's daddy day today' and I'm like it's daddy day seven days a week," says Damien. "Being able to have that time with your family and with your children is absolutely crucial."

"The Swedish system... would benefit families here in Australia because everyone's situation is different."

"It's a very short part of your life and... if you don't get to be involved you're really missing out."

And while Sweden does pay high rates of tax - Andrew and Sara say it all helps to cover schemes that will benefit the children.

"I suppose people do take advantage of it, but then it's there to be taken advantage of," says Andrew. "At the end result the winner is the child."

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